George Kittle, star tight end for the San Francisco 49ers, has surprised the family of a fallen Army soldier with tickets to the biggest night in football.
Kittle partnered with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and the United Services Automobile Association in order to bring two family members of the late Martin “Mick” LaMar to Super Bowl LIV.
“The work I do with the USAA and the TAPS organization is something I really have kind of fallen in love with,” Kittle said on Jan. 24, according to ESPN.
“I have a lot of family in the military so it’s something that I just respect, and the sacrifice that they give is the ultimate sacrifice. So, if I can ever give back and make a family’s day or just make them smile a little bit, then I’ve just done a little part in their lives.”
Excited to provide 2 tix to the #SuperBowl to the surviving family of @USArmy SGT Martin “Mick” LaMar of Sacramento (KIA 01/15/2011). Humbled to work with @USAA & @TAPSOrg to honor his legacy. We will never forget. #SaluteToService ?? pic.twitter.com/OFeE4cQV2t
— George Kittle (@gkittle46) January 23, 2020
U.S. Army Sgt. Mick LaMar was shot and killed on Jan. 15, 2011, during his second tour of duty in Mosul, Iraq. LaMar had joined the Marine Corps after graduating high school; he was deployed in the first Gulf War and later reenlisted in the Army in 2007.
At the time of his passing, his son Nicolas was 7 years old and his daughter Sophia was 3 months old, according to KRON.
LaMar was married to his wife, Josie, for 11 years. He was killed on the day of their wedding anniversary.
“I was expecting a call that day, never got it,” Josie said. “What I got was a chaplain soldier to give me the news. It turned my life upside down.”
Watching the 49ers play the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami is an extra special surprise for their family — especially since Josie says that it was LaMar’s love for football that helped bring their family closer together.
“When we got married, he told me I would not have a husband, that Sundays were his days. That he’d be watching football sunup to sundown,” Josie told KRON.
“And I was okay with it until I thought, wait a minute, how about you teach me so I learn to love it? And he did, and I loved it and I became the biggest fan.”
After her husband’s death, Josie passed down that love of football to Nicolas, who will be attending the game with her.
Josie and Nicolas, now 16, are both big 49ers fans. The teen expressed his shock and excitement about going to the big game.
“Being able to go to a Super Bowl is very, like I don’t believe it, but I do believe it at the same time,” he said.
Kittle, who will be playing in his Super Bowl debut, and the 49ers will take the field against the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Niners will certainly have their work cut out for them to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Regardless of the outcome, however, the Niners will know that one of their own created an amazing memory for a family who very much deserves one.
“As I hit the field to play in the Super Bowl, I find comfort in the fact that 49ers fans Josie and Nicolas LaMar will be cheering our team on,” Kittle said.
“It’s a special privilege to be able to team up with USAA and TAPS to award a trip to the Super Bowl to Sergeant LaMar’s family in recognition of his military service and paying the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country.”
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