Operation Warrior Wishes Visits Miller Park
Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Craig and Matt Steichen, the father-son duo behind Operation Warrior Wishes, a nonprofit organization that honors wounded veterans with VIP experiences and trips to sporting events across the country.
Craig and Matt had been traveling to different football stadiums, making it to one or two each year in an attempt to see them all when they had the idea to see them all in one year.
Their first thought was “Is that possible?” and after they realized it was (others have done it before), they decided they wanted to make it really special.
So, the pair teamed up with the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization which raises awareness and enlists the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to select wounded veterans to accompany them on their journey.
Last season, they accomplished their goal, visiting all 32 NFL Stadiums and bringing joy to veterans from coast to coast.
But they didn’t stop there. Now, they’ve founded Operation Warrior Wishes and they’re expanding their reach.
“I’ve made it my lifelong mission,” Matt told me.
Today, Miller Park became Operation Warrior Wishes’ 11th MLB Ballpark when Craig and Matt brought BJ Ganem, Brian Stoltenberg and Ken Oliver out for the Brewers vs. Cubs game.
“It’s not about us,” Matt, who is a banker by day, said, “It’s what these guys do for us. That’s what matters.”
“The whole idea is to pay it forward,” Craig added.
BJ, Brian and Ken are all retired Marines from Wisconsin. BJ was one of Craig and Matt’s first guests on their original journey, joining the pair for a Packers game last year. He helped connect them with Brian and Ken through his work with the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, facilitating their visit to Miller Park.
For Brian, this was his first trip to our stadium.
“It’s really awesome,” he said of Operation Warrior Wishes and the experience they helped provide, “It really gets you on an emotional level. You can’t really put it into words.”