Sean Tufts, left, and Brian Daniels sign autographs for members of the Mountain Post community after giving inspirational words and advice to Soldiers and their Families Sunday at the Foxhole. (Photo by Walt Johnson)
By Julie M. Lucas and Walt Johnson
Fort Carson Mountaineer
Fort Carson Soldiers and their Families got a double treat Sunday at the Foxhole. The first treat was getting to meet two former NFL players who told the story of how they have transitioned in their lives. The second was watching the two conference championship games on the big screen and the 20 other screens available at the lounge.
The doors to the Foxhole opened at noon for the event, designed to assist wounded warriors transition back from the battlefield.
According to Julie Hughes, project manager for the Real Warriors Campaign, the campaign is an effort of the Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. The campaign is also designed to encourage the nation’s wounded warriors as they heal. Hughes emphasized the importance of the visit by the former NFL players.
“There are a number of resources at ... Department of Defense services level, as well as individual resources within
each community. The message for this campaign is to encourage servicemembers to reach out
and to reach out early and take advantage of the resources available,” she said.
For their part, the former NFL players were encouraging and let the Soldier’s know what it’s like to adjust from being where they were to where they are now in life. Sean Tufts and Brian Daniels, who both played at the University of Colorado, had heartfelt messages and advice for the Soldiers.
“You are the heart that makes this country,” Tufts said to the Soldiers Daniels said the most successful people he works with now have all served in the military.
He added that, with the skill sets in Soldiers, he’d hire all of them that he meets.
One of the Soldiers in attendance at the event, Antoni Bukowski, a reservist from Missouri, said the event put some perspective on life for him. He said in addition to the pressures of being in the military, he is going through a tough time in his personal life and the athletes gave him hope that there are better days ahead.
“I thought it was really inspirational. Just to hear them say how they picked themselves up and figure out a new passion and not stay down has given me a little less stress, especially at this time when I really need it. Now I can see that I can really find a way, and I can see that things can get better and I should stay upbeat. They were really down-to-earth people, too, which was really nice,” Bukowski said.
Daniels said he wouldn’t have wanted to have been anywhere else except at the Foxhole on Sunday because of the people he was able to meet.
“This is (an) amazing event, and I think that any chance I can get to share my story and help these Warriors transition to the real world is something I want to do. It’s tough when you do something your whole life and then you have to change. To give something back to these guys who give everything is meaningful to me,” Daniels said.