American veterans who have lost arms or legs in service continue to be an inspiration as they take part in the annual football game against former NFL players.
Prior to Super Bowl 56, the Stars & Stripes Bowl was presented by North American Motor Car in support of veterans advocacy group Sierra Delta and hip-hop superstar Snoop Dogg’s Special Stars youth football team.
BJ Ganem, a former US Marine whose leg was amputated following a tour of Iraq, is also the founder of Sierra Delta, an advocacy group that helps veterans through service dogs. He says he’s grateful to have the opportunity to play with NFL legends like Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner.
“So we come together to celebrate these two great missions, but also to show America’s favorite sport, football, just before the biggest game of the favorite sport, how this game can help other communities that care about us. heart,” Ganem said.
Veterans are also defending amputees like Marine Corps Staff Sergeant John Edward Heath who was hit by a drunk driver while on duty.
“I had 12 lower extremity surgeries. They wanted to do 13 but I pulled out and had an amputation. I had an amputation on May 21, 2021,” Heath explained. “I think the best message for anyone, whether you have an amputee or not, is that everyone has problems. It’s okay not to be well. Everyone needs to understand that there is [are] hurdles to overcome, but there is a better team after this hurdle.”
Meanwhile, Ganem noted that despite the current socio-political unrest, the game is an example of how people from all walks of life can come together and overcome adversity.
“Screaming and shouting at each other won’t work. Neither of us is going anywhere, so we have to figure out how to live together and thrive together at the end of the day,” Ganem stressed.
Snoop Dogg’s Special Stars and Sierra Delta received $10,000 each to help them continue their programs.