WZTV FOX 17 - Top Stories
After 15 weeks, they actually did it and Monday night they made their final stop in Music City, giving a once in a lifetime opportunity to some very deserving Fort Campbell veterans.
Specialist Fabian Salazar and staff sergeant Derek Genck have more reason to appreciate a peaceful night at the stadium than most.
When times were at their worst in Iraq and Afghanistan they weren't sure if they'd ever set foot on American soil again.
"I got blown up in an IED." Salazar said. "I broke my right femur."
"I was hit with shrapnel from a rocket in Balad, Iraq in 2006," Genck said.
But Monday night, they were back on American soil…and not just on any American soil, they were on the NFL gridiron, the same grass where heroes tread and legends are made.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Salazar said.
"Never in the world would I think this would ever happen," Genck said.
And during a break in the Monday Night Football game between the Titans and the Jets, they were honored on the 10-yard line and each given a game ball.
When they hoisted them in the air, 70,000 fans showed them who the real heroes are, and just how much their service and sacrifice are appreciated.
"This is by far the best thing that's ever happened to me," Genck said.
It was all thanks to Craig and Matt Steichen, a father and son from Chicago on a mission to visit all 32 NFL stadiums in a single season.
What started as a father son trip turned into a calling. At every stop, they take two wounded warriors to the game with them.
"They go through hell and back and this is just a small token of our appreciation for what these guys do for us," Matt Steichen said.
Their father-son odyssey started in their hometown of Chicago. From there they went to New York City and then Denver and so on, visiting 31 stadiums in 15 weeks. And Music City was the last stop on this incredible journey.
"We've gone 40,953 miles in 103 days," Craig Steichen said.
32 stadiums in half as many weeks meant the Steichens had to hit several cities in one weekend several times.
"There were two stretches where we had six games in nine days," Craig Steichen said. "We were home 32 hours in a week."
But no matter how tired they were, giving up was never an option.
"If this journey was about football, I would have quit after about week three," Matt Steichen said. "But I've never once wanted to quit because I know that there's two guys waiting for me at every single stadium and I get to make a difference in their lives."
"To go out of their way to help people, strangers to them, it's phenomenal," Genck said.
But for the Steichens, moments like the ones they shared with the veterans out there on that field made it all worth it.
"Let's put it this way," Matt Steichen said. "I had to take a couple of minutes to compose myself after that. It's pretty awesome."
The Steichens say they're not stopping there. After a much-deserved break they plan to continue taking wounded warriors to events in their home towns next season and expand from football to other events.
You can learn more about their efforts by visiting the Fox Links section of this website.
Wednesday, December 19 2012, 11:07 AM CST
Man facing extradition for murder claims innocence
June 17, 2013 20:24 GMT
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A former U.S. Marine facing extradition to the Philippines on double murder charges says he is innocent.
Timothy Kaufman has been in jail since his arrest in April at business near his grandfather's Albany-area home. The 35-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn., is one of three men charged by Philippine authorities with killing a retired Northern Ireland police officer and his girlfriend in 2011.
Authorities claim it was a premeditated killing in an area known for its sometimes-seamy club scene.
In a handwritten letter sent to the media from jail, Kaufman says he would never do something as "heinous and stupid" as killing the couple. He says he left the country after the killings because he feared for his safety.
An extradition hearing is scheduled for June 25 in Albany federal court.
Oil rises past $98 on Syria, ahead of Fed meeting
(AP) -- The price of oil has edged above $98 a barrel.
BC-US--Dow Record-Three Personal Stories, 1st Ld-Writethru,1173
Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
AP Photo FX102, FX103
Eds: With BC-US--Dow Record. Adds photos.
By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Dow first crossed 14,000, investors were overjoyed. ...
IN THE NEWS: PRESIDENT OBAMA DEFENDS NSA SPY PROGRAMS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Until they were revealed earlier this month, few people knew about the National Security Agency's spying programs.
HOUSE OF CARDS
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The Maryland State House is getting a promotion -- to the U.S.