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Last Saturday nearly 30 military veterans gathered on the field at Gillette Stadium, greeted by three former New England Patriots players for a day of football skills and drills, a tour and lunch next to the field. The event - made possible by CVS Health and the Patriots - was timed around Veterans Day in appreciation for the service of men and women from multiple eras. Jim Hummel caught up with two Rhode Island veterans - who have a message for those this holiday weekend.
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One…. by one….by one…..they all heard their names called.
Some answered that call in a wheelchair.
Others carrying a cane.
And many of the rest ran through the inflatable Patriot helmet onto the field at Gillette Stadium last Saturday, greeted with a sustained round of applause.
Close to 30 military veterans had gathered from Massachusetts and Rhode Island/ They came from all walks of life and eras of service for a football skills day - a joint effort by CVS Health and the New England Patriots in honor of Veterans Day.
Before the day was out they’d get to run drills with former Patriots players and get autographs from them; then have lunch adjacent to the field, with a chance to chat and share war stories - in some cases literally.
Case: ``Thank you to you and your families for the absolutely incredible sacrifices you’ve made and you continue to make every single day, in service to our great nation.
The day kicked off with a welcome from David Casey, a former Marine who is now the chief diversity officer for CVS Health.
Casey: ``I will share with you personally I can understand that sacrifice I remember 26 years getting on the plane to leave my newly-pregnant wife to go serve as a U.S. Marine in Operation Desert Storm. Any other Jar Heads out there? Semper Fi!’’
Casey was right in the middle of it all, watching as the veterans broke off into three separate groups.
Former Patriot linebacker Vernon Crawford ran a clinic on blocking.
Former Fullback and special teams player Harold Shaw worked on passing with those in wheelchairs.
While former fullback Patrick Pass showed off his arm for those running routes up the field. You could call them Pass patterns.
David Casey saw something in common throughout the day.