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Wounded Warriors Visit Inspires Broncos

Posted Aug 14, 2013

Service members from the Wounded Warriors Project visited with Broncos players and coaches after practice on Wednesday.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- For the Broncos, Wednesday was a special opportunity to recognize the efforts and sacrifices of those who have given so much to serve their country – and there was no mistaking the inspiration that players drew from their interactions with the service members from the Wounded Warriors Project that visited the team’s training camp practice.  

“A lot of these folks have been through stuff that we can’t even imagine, yet they have a smile on their faces and they’re just so happy to be here,” tight end Jacob Tamme said. “It makes you proud to be a part of an organization like this and proud to be able to do what we’re doing.” 

The Wounded Warriors Project – which serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound through their military service on or after September 11, 2001 – is designed to empower and encourage its members.

And according to Joel Hunt, a Wounded Warrior Project Mentor and Purple Heart recipient who was wounded during his service in the Middle East, visiting with the Broncos is extremely meaningful for wounded service members. 

“For me, getting soldiers out and about, doing stuff, it gets their mind off of the (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and (injuries) that they suffer with every day,” Hunt said. “People don’t understand that events like this really sparks – especially the soldiers – it really sparks the way they feel about themselves.”

Hunt noted that the experience and interactions are impactful for both sides.

“The way I look at it for the athletes, they can look at these guys and some of them have sprains and stuff like that and they’re thinking well you know these guys did this over here I can do this over there,” he said. “I’m kind of hoping that we’re as much of an inspiration to them as they are to us.”

One Wounded Warrior who was in attendance on Wednesday was Gabe Martinez, who was enthusiastic about meeting some of his favorite NFL players. 

“For any of these professional athletes to thank us for our service and really just show some admiration and respect to service members, it’s awesome,” Martinez said, excitedly adding that he was able to meet (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) John Elway, wide receiver Wes Welker, cornerback Champ Bailey, Tamme, and others.

“To just come out here and see the people we admire so much watching football - and for them to return the favor for us – it’s pretty cool,” Martinez added.

And for Tamme and other members of the Broncos, there’s no understating just how cool this experience truly was. 

“To be able to give them a smile, it makes you feel kind of special that you can impact them a little bit,” Tamme said. “But they definitely impact us more than we impact them when you go out and see the type of courage they exhibit on the battlefield and the type of sacrifices that they make.”

 “To be able to give them a smile, it makes you feel kind of special that you can impact them a little bit,” Tamme said. “But they definitely impact us more than we impact them when you go out and see the type of courage they exhibit on the battlefield and the type of sacrifices that they make.”