Tampa Bay Sports Day

Bucs’ McDonald Surprises Wounded Warrior With Super Bowl Trip

WWP

Ron Holton nearly dropped the phone in excitement when he received the big news from Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) staff. Clinton McDonald, a Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense tackle and longtime supporter of WWP, gave Ron, a Marine Corps veteran, and his wife two tickets to Super Bowl LII. And WWP partner USAA® covered the entire cost of Ron’s trip – flights, accommodations, and game tickets.

“Me and my wife were watching football at the time,” Ron said. “And when I heard the news, I handed my wife the phone and took off running around the house, yelling in excitement – I couldn’t believe it.”

For Ron, the game was more than just checking an item off his bucket list – it was a special reminder of the care WWP has provided him during recent challenges and hardships in his life.

“A lot has happened since the end of 2017, with deaths among my family and friends, most in tragic ways,” Ron said. “I began to have more emotional problems than I could handle. I was in some pretty dark places, and Wounded Warrior Project has been there for my wife and me. They’ve kept us in the loop with different events and opportunities around my community. This incredible gift was something truly special, and it’s something I’ll always remember.”

The generosity of WWP’s partners and donors enable the veterans’ charity to connect warriors with one another and their communities.

“Wounded Warrior Project is there for you in ways you wouldn’t imagine,” Ron said. “They were there for me when I needed help finding work and gave me resources to help me succeed. They don’t expect anything from you other than getting involved with their programs and taking a step out of your own comfort zone. It takes nothing from you other than giving them a chance to help you overcome the things that are holding you back.”

The atmosphere at the game was everything Ron hoped it would be – it was a milestone event for him.

“I couldn’t believe I was there in the first place – it all seemed surreal,” Ron said. “I have watched these games since I was a child, and the dream of being at the game came true. Not only did I get to attend this event with my wife, I got to explore a new place, and we had new experiences and built memories together.”

Ron came into the game rooting for the underdogs – the Philadelphia Eagles – but seeing a living football legend playing in the biggest game of the year left its mark.

“Seeing Tom Brady in his natural habitat was incredible,” Ron said. “And while the Eagles won the game, I think Justin Timberlake won the entire night in general.”