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NFL Team's Heartwarming Goodbye to Member of Staff Deploying Overseas

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Leo Longoria, a specialist in the Arizona Army National Guard, was hired just under a year ago as a dishwasher for the Arizona Cardinals football team.

With the job of washing the dishes of team members, coaches and staff members multiple times a day, he has easily gained immense respect from the team.

When executive chef Stacey Weber found out about Longoria’s deployment overseas, she told the team president Michael Bidwill. Recognizing Longoria’s faithful service in the Arizona Army National Guard, Bidwill knew he needed to plan a personal and exciting event that he felt was much more suitable to his leave.

As Bidwill distracted Longoria in the kitchen, the rest of the team came together in the open cafeteria, chanting “Leo” in unison.

“All of a sudden I just started hearing my name. It started echoing, and I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then they opened the door and all the players were throughout this entire area. They were all cheering my name, looking at me,” Longoria said. “That was amazing to see. You hear my name echoing and then people started clapping. Never really had I had that feeling before.”

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As the team huddled together and surrounded Longoria, Coach Steve Wilks met him in the middle, shaking his hand and placing his hand on his shoulder.

Wilks handed Longoria camouflage gear with the Arizona Cardinals logo on it to express not only their gratitude for his committed work for the team, but also their admiration for his service to the country.

“We wanted to show our appreciation for all that you do, for this organization, but most importantly, your commitment to serve our country,” Wilks said to Longoria.

The team also expressed their appreciation over Twitter, posting a video of the whole goodbye experience, writing that “Specialist Leo Longoria is an integral member of the Cardinals kitchen staff and in the Arizona Army National Guard.”

Not only did the team themselves express their appreciation, but the Internet took to showing him appreciation as well.

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Many people commented on the post showing their gratitude and excitement for Longoria.

Wilks also assured Longoria that he would have his same job waiting for him when he returned from his deployment overseas.

“It shows that I have a caring place where I work, and that’s amazing,” Longoria said. “Having seen all the guys out there and going through all this, that was awesome. It warmed my heart.”

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Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a major in English, minors in both Writing and Communication Studies, and a Technical Writing concentration. She is currently working on designing and writing a book of poetry to financially support a new homeless ministry of Grove City, PA called Beloved Mercy Ministry. In her spare time, she loves to sing, play piano, exercise, traverse cities, and find the cutest coffee shops. She also has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Birthplace
Philadelphia, PA
Honors/Awards
Scholarship of Academic Achievement and Moral Character
Education
Grove City College
Location
Grove City, PA
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Visual Design, Document Design, Technical Communication, Literature, Computer Ethics




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