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Annual Military Walk-Thru Reinforces Team's Values

Posted Aug 27, 2014

The Chargers held their pre-season annual visit to MCAS Miramar.

An annual tradition continued on Wednesday as the San Diego Chargers held their pre-game walk-thru at MCAS Miramar.  Not a traditional practice by any means, the yearly event strengthens the vital bond between the Bolts and the city’s strong military presence.  Spending the afternoon with true American heroes also reinforced the values team brass hopes to instill in the locker room.

“It’s great to come out here and thank them for their service and everything they provide us,” said General Manager Tom Telesco.  “As an organization, we want to represent San Diego, and we’re a heavy military community.  As far as the Marines are concerned, you talk about their mottos of courage, brotherhood and loyalty; those are the same qualities we need to have so we can learn something while we’re here.”

The Chargers hold numerous military events throughout the year, and each time they are invigorated by the sacrifices of those who serve the nation. 

“It’s an honor and privilege to be here,” he said.  “We’re very fortunate to be part of the NFL and live the lives we do.  But we can’t do it without the men and women who support our country.  So there are a lot of sacrifices they make with their families and everything they do for the better of the country.  So we’re very fortunate.”

Jason Verrett is only a rookie, but he too relished the chance to thank the military.

“It’s an amazing chance to give back,” he said with a smile.  “They do so much for us as a country.  They put in a lot of work and do a lot of good things for us, so it’s a blessing to be here and feels good to be back."

An unforgettable afternoon for the troops and their families, it was particularly so for members of the Miramar Falcons football team who got to either catch passes from Philip Rivers or try to break them up.

“It’s a surreal experience and gives you a shaky feeling,” said Sergeant Ryan Sivels.  "He is Philip Rivers!  He puts the ball where it’s supposed to be so it’s surreal.”

While he’s used to lobbing passes to the likes of Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd, Rivers said throwing darts to Marines is a humbling experience for him as well.

“It’s great,” he said.  “It’s a lot of fun.  It’s not that you forget it, but it comes to light how young they are.  They are a bunch of young guys who fight for this country, so the least we can do is spend an hour with them.”

Spending time with the troops was also meaningful to a number of players coming from military families, such as Ladarius Green and Reggie Walker.

“This is always real nice because I know firsthand what they do for our country and what they go through,” said Green.  “So it’s always nice to come back and spend time with them.”

“It’s fun to see these guys out here running around,” added Walker.  “It means a lot since a lot of my family has been in the military so I know what they’re going through.  My mom and dad were both in the Army, and my brother is in the Air Force.  So to be able to give back in any way possible always means a lot.”

The way the Chargers genuinely appreciate the military and show their gratitude meant a lot to everyone in attendance.

“This really makes us feel special,” said Col. John Farnam, Commanding Officer of the Air Station. “To a lot of our people, you see the Chargers on TV and think they are larger than life.  Then you get to meet them and you realize they are larger than life because they are tremendous individuals.  You saw Philip Rivers throwing passes to members of our football team here at Miramar, and that’s an experience they will never forget.”
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