Dec. 27, 2012
Gaby Moran, Texas Media Relations
Before their last Valero Alamo Bowl practice, seven Texas Longhorn football players visited wounded warriors at The Center for the Intrepid at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
“To me, this speaks volumes of what the American people do for us,” said U.S. Army Col. Noel Cardenas, who serves as the Deputy Commander for Administration at Brooke Army Medical Center. “These guys are busy and have other things on their minds like the upcoming football game, but to take time away from their schedule and spend some time with these guys that are rehabbing just shows how much they really do care about them.”
Senior running back Jeremy Hills, junior linebackers Demarco Cobbs and Jordan Hicks, junior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, junior offensive guard Trey Hopkins, and freshmen offensive tackles Kennedy Estelle and Camrhon Hughes met with several injured soldiers and their families from the Army and the Marine Corps.
“We are in awe of them while they are in awe of us," said Hills. "They ask us questions about football, and we ask them about war like it is just normal."
“We are so influenced and so blessed by our military it is just great to come be with these guys that sacrifice their body, sacrifice their time, and their efforts to keep us safe and free here in America so we can play games like football,” Hopkins said.
With a majority of the soldiers from the Texas area, many were excited to hear players from their favorite college team were visiting.
“The minute I heard they were coming in, I knew I had to be part of this visit,” Cardenas said.
The Texas players signed some footballs, hats and t-shirts while swapping stories of both football and war with the soldiers.
“It is a humbling experience because this is the first time I have ever been in a military hospital,” Hills said. “I [look] around and see all the pictures they have, these are just people out there risking their lives to make sure I am safe to play a game. It just puts a lot into perspective for me.”
Hills, along with his teammates, appreciate these opportunities that Texas Football gives them to speak to soldiers and to give something back to these men and women who are fighting for their country.
“It just helps you remember that people do care because sometimes when you are by yourself, you think you are alone, but when you see people like this, it's fun and nice,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Hector Luna Rodriguez.
Afterwards, the players took a short tour of the center to see all the different rehabilitation techniques that help the injured recover and prepare to go back into active duty or civilian life.
“To me personally, it takes a special kind of person to be in the military. And it is an honor to get to meet those people and to see them not just in their uniform, but see them as everyday people and just talk with them and laugh with them,” Hopkins said.
“I think for [the soldiers], it shows them how many people outside the Army care about what they are going through and what they have done for our country,” Cardenas said.