PHILADELPHIA — When Nancy Ardis-Wolfe was looking for a slogan for her non-profit, Supplies for Soldiers, she settled on "Serving those who serve."
Since her six-month U.S. Army civilian deployment to Afghanistan, that's what she's done — via donations of snacks, hygiene items, needed appliances and other goods.
What started out of her own pocket became a full-fledged non-profit that sends provisions to troops in Afghanistan every month.
Sunday in Philadelphia, though, Ardis-Wolfe found a different way to serve those who serve.
Ardis-Wolfe, along with her husband Mark Wolfe, surprised U.S. Army soldiers and Broncos fans Mike Kasper and Eric Gallagher with tickets to Denver's game against the Eagles.
The gift, which Ardis-Wolfe and Wolfe funded separately from their non-profit, was not only a way to reward the soldiers for their service — it was also a chance to meet Kasper for the first time.
For about 18 months, Kasper was one of Ardis-Wolfe's points of contact in Afghanistan and later in the U.S., but the two had not met in person until Saturday after Kasper and Gallagher drove the seven-plus hours from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
And that's where the Broncos stepped in. Denver set the four up with pregame sideline passes to turn Sunday's game from an incredible experience into an unbelievable one.
Kasper, who has been to games at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, had never been to a Broncos game at an opposing stadium. The pregame sideline passes only enhanced the experience.
"This is cool," Kasper said. "This is the first time I've ever watched the Broncos anywhere but Mile High. It was really neat to get up close and personal and actually see all these guys. It's just a really cool experience.
"It's always great to see the support from the NFL. I feel like a lot of these players and all the people here definitely do support the military."
For Ardis-Wolfe, the moment was a culmination of months and years of work. Though she's been to Broncos games herself — she planned her deployment around the Broncos' 2015 playoff run — this seemed to rank near the top of her experiences. The same could be said for Wolfe, who has been a Broncos season-ticket holder for 45 years.
"This was a dream come true," Ardis-Wolfe said. "I haven't been able to sleep for a couple weeks. Finally getting to meet Michael and his battle buddy who has been through everything with him. This is the first time meeting Eric, also. It's just been an unbelievable experience. These guys put their life on the line, as do all of our military. I have the utmost respect and love for these guys."
"This is who it was about for us. These two guys."
To donate to Supplies for Soliders, please visit this link.