JACKSONVILLE, N.C. --
“They are just as young as we are. I mean, they are the same age,” said a North Carolina State University football player two summers ago when he and his team visited the Wounded Warriors aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. His coach, Tom O’Brien, replied, “Yes, they are.”
Coach O’Brien and members from the Wolfpack Club attended the club’s boosters banquet at the Jacksonville Country Club in Jacksonville, N.C. April 20 and also in attendance, 10 Marines from the Wounded Warriors Battalion – East.
Though the booster banquet was intended to give updates of the university’s athletic program to club members, O’Brien also used it as an opportunity to meet and interact with the Marines.
O’Brien, a former Marine himself, has an affinity for Marines and does what he can to support those who put their country’s interests and freedoms before their own.
“Anything I can do for these Marines, I will,” said O’Brien. “I like to get my (football team) out here to see the Marines and show them what maybe the road their friends might have took and put it into perspective.”
The Marines were recognized for their service, followed by a standing ovation from all the members. After the dinner, O’Brien grabbed the microphone.
He turned to his immediate left, looked at the Marines, then back at the audience and talked about Corps’ values that describe Marines.
“Certainly with my background being in the Marine Corps and to understand the ethos of what a Marine is, it basically boils down to three words. Honor, courage and commitment,” said O’Brien. “What his honor? It’s moral confidence that lets you make that tough decision. Courage is nothing more than honor in action…intestinal fortitude to make those tough choices and these men know that. Commitment can probably be best explained by that we are all in it…always accomplishing the mission.”
He turns back to the Marines, “We are all indebted to you.”
Soon after, O’Brien gave each Marine an autographed North Carolina State football t-shirt, while each Marine introduced who they were and where they are from.
Corporal Ryan A. Dohrmann, an infantryman with WWBn – East, said the opportunity to be invited to the banquet was a great experience, and his first to a booster event.
“This was a unique experience for all of us tonight,” said Dohrmann. “Most of us are sports fans and we enjoyed the insight of what goes on at these events. We are very thankful for what these people did for us tonight and for Coach O’Brien taking the time to speak to us.”
O’Brien ended the night thanking for the Marines’ service and told them that he and his team will visit the Wounded Warriors in the summer.
“We are looking for a time for the team to come down during the summer,” he said. “We definitely will make it though. My goal is that they understand a lot of people are behind them and everyone respects them and their service to this country. Anything we can do to repay them for what they have done for our country we will and this is just a small token of our appreciation.”