By Debbie Gregory.
Last week, a football game was played in New Jersey. Two teams of heroes took the field and played their hearts out. All of the proceeds from the game went to the Military Benefit Association, and an FDNY 9/11 charity. It’s probably not the football game that you were thinking of. There were no big TV deals for this game. No one, not even the charities, made millions of dollars from it. But for all involved, especially the players, it may as well have been the Super Bowl.
On January 29th, the Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange New Jersey hosted the Wounded Warriors Amputee Football Team (WWAFT) vs. a team of 9/11 First Responders in a charity flag football game. The WWAFT is made up of players who are either current or former members of the U.S. military, who lost at least one limb as result of their service, and now use a prosthetic device to engage in everyday life activities. The team hopes that by playing these charity football games, they will inspire their fans and other Veterans by showcasing their perseverance.
Their opponents for the game were of equal bravery and grit. The squad was made up of members of the NYFD and NJFD, who were the first responders to the attacks on September 11, 2001.
The Wounded Warrior team was undefeated going into the game, having previously beaten teams of retired players from the Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers.
More than 2,000 spectators were watching in the stands. Also in attendance were several former NFL stars, including Jim Burt, Vince Papale, Phil McConkey, Rocky Bleier, and ESPN’s Kenny Mane. The final score was 32-14 in favor of the WWAFT. While they are still undefeated on the scoreboard, their mission was also victorious yet again. When events take place for the benefit of Veterans and public servants such as fireman and policeman, everybody wins.
Please visit the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team’s website to find out more about their charity, see pictures of their games, and buy apparel.