Hi Broncos Country!
Tuesday will be a day I remember forever as several of us had the incredible opportunity to participate in a special visit to Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado Springs, presented by USAA. In honor of the Broncos’ military appreciation efforts and the NFL’s Salute to Service taking place in November, Broncos players Ben Garland and Chris Gronkowski, cheerleaders Kim, Toni G., Toni D., Chelsie and I (Katie K.), Miles the Mascot, Broncos Alumni Randy Gradishar and Reggie Rivers and even Broncos President Joe Ellis spent time with our troops in Colorado Springs!
Our day started at Patriot Elementary School where the cheerleaders helped Miles with his Fuel Up to Play 60 show, a presentation teaching kids about the importance of eating healthy and staying active. The kids were engaged and full of energy, and at one point all 680 of them were chanting “Broncos! Broncos! Broncos!” It was like music to our ears!
The next stop was at the 2-8 Motor pool, where we met soldiers of the 2-8 Infantry and were given a chance to explore the battle tanks, armor, and weapons. Everyone took turns holding and learning the ins and outs of the machine guns, Chelsie handled the M-9 like a pro, and Kim held the M-16. I got to climb aboard the M1A2 Abrams tank and load a sabot round, which weighed at least 50 pounds – I couldn’t imagine having to load one in 3 seconds flat! Toni D. held a 50-pound armored vest and got a feel for running in the gear in a race against one of the soldiers. Toni G. held her own in a push-up contest against an officer, Chris Gronkowski and Ben Garland. Ben drove the Bradley tank, and we all enjoyed watching the defensive lineman climb in and out of the drivers seat through the tiny hatch door!
At first we were giddy with excitement at the idea of holding the guns and climbing on the tanks, but were quickly humbled after experiencing the shear power and complexity of the equipment. We walked away with a new-found appreciation for the mental and physical strength it would take to work with it daily in the motor pool and especially during combat in a warzone.
Our next stop was lunch at the DFAC where we enjoyed talking to the soldiers and hearing their stories. What struck me was how many of them came from different parts of the country, and by choice, moved away from their homes and families in order to serve our country. One soldier showed me a photo of his girlfriend back in Iowa that he saved as the background on his phone. It was clear to me that he was proud and committed to his decision to leave home and make the most of his new life at Fort Carson, despite the lack of comfort and abundance of sacrifice he left behind. A group of us had an extended conversation about energy drinks that give you the most mental stamina without crashing. We learned soldiers will go for months on end with no more than 15-20-minutes of sleep at a time. It was humbling just talking and hanging out with the soldiers during lunch and gaining a deeper understanding of how their dedication affects the way we live. I wished we could have stayed longer, but we were on a strict schedule!
After a brief autograph signing and photo session, the players, alumni, cheerleaders and Mr. Ellis were escorted to the Commanding General’s office, where we had the honor of meeting Major General Joseph Anderson. He sat and chatted with us briefly and gave each of us official 4th Infantry coins before his helicopter landed outside his window and he had to go. We appreciate the time he took to visit with us, and were grateful for the opportunity to meet him!
Next we were off to our last stop at the 1-10 Cavalry in the 1-10 Cavalry Motor pool. Here the Squadron was conducting Gunnery Skills Testing on their Crew serve weapons. Two men had a contest to see who could disassemble and reassemble their guns the fastest. They were so speedy! We got a lesson in assembling, loading and shooting the guns and loved talking to the men about their stories.
At the end of the day, the Broncos players, alumni, cheerleaders, Miles and staff left the soldiers and workers at Fort Carson with a lifted morale, and the soldiers left us with a deeper appreciation and gratitude for the freedom and rights we have. The opportunity to experience a glimpse of Army life was eye opening and made all of us more aware of how important it is to show our gratitude and ongoing support of our troops.
Well, Broncos Country, we will get our chance on Sunday, November 18th! In honor of the Broncos military appreciation efforts and the NFL’s Salute to Service month, let’s be extra loud during Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers to thank and show our brave troops how much we appreciate them!
Also, the Cheerleaders’ Seventh Annual Cheer for the Troops drive will take place between now and December 10th! If you would like to help us make one of our holiday packages we are accepting gift donations (non-perishables, goodies, letters, broncos gear) at the team store until December 10th. This is a great way to get involved and say thanks to soldiers deployed for the holidays. Anything you can give will help brighten the day of one of our soldiers.
On behalf of the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders, I would like to say THANK YOU to our military servicemen and women and their families for the sacrifices you make to protect our freedom. You are always in our thoughts and prayers, but this Sunday’s game, in particular, is dedicated to you. God Bless America! And GO BRONCOS!!
See you Sunday!