Sports

Christian McCaffrey gives 2 Marine veterans the surprise of a lifetime

Two veterans of the United States Marine Corps will receive the trip of a lifetime Sunday when they attend Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, thanks to Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey, in conjunction with the United Services Automobile Association and the United Service Organizations of North Carolina, gave Super Bowl tickets to Richard Loftis and Ralph Waller, who both live in Hampstead, North Carolina.

“Teaming up with USAA and the USO of North Carolina to award Richard and Ralph a trip to the Super Bowl is a true honor,” McCaffrey said. 

“These two Marines served our country and we can’t thank them enough for their service,” he added.

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Waller and Loftis will meet McCaffrey Saturday at the USAA’s Salute to Service Military Appreciation Lounge before attending Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Waller served 20 years in the Marines, achieving the rank of master sergeant/senior enlisted advisor. He spent two tours of duty in Iraq and three in Afghanistan.

Loftis served two years before being medically discharged. Richard was assigned to the 2nd FAST (Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team) during his tenure.

In a game against the Dolphins in November, the Panthers wore the initials of fallen soldiers on their helmets to honor those who served.

“This is a special game for us as we recognize all who have served this country and remember the legacy of our fallen service men and women,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of his team’s salute to fallen service members. “As the son of an Army officer, I have a strong personal connection to the Armed Forces, and I’m humbled and honored that our team has the opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, and their families.”

McCaffrey, the eighth pick in last year’s NFL draft, completed a successful rookie campaign and helped the Panthers return to the playoffs.

He caught 80 passes for 651 yards, and gained 435 yards on the ground. McCaffrey scored seven touchdowns, including seven through the air.

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“Faith plays a huge part in who I am,” McCaffrey said in an interview with WBTV in Charlotte after the season. “I’m a strong believer. Obviously I’m not perfect, but I try to strive to have a positive relationship with the Lord and try to be a good person like the Bible preaches.”

Treating these veterans to the Super Bowl is definitely a great gesture.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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