LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. (STMW) – Once again, Brad Buell of Libertyville will watch a monumentally important Bears game on television while his season tickets will be used by decorated military veterans.
That’s just the way he wants it to be. Four decorated veterans are being given Buell’s tickets to the NFC Championship game between the Bears and the Packers Sunday afternoon at Solider Field, through a program run by Gov. Pat Quinn’s office.
For Buell, it started with the Bears’ 2007 Super Bowl appearance, when he won two tickets for the big game in the season ticket holder’s lottery and donated them to Bryan Anderson, a Rolling Meadows resident and Purple Heart recipient who lost three limbs in Iraq. Anderson attended the Super Bowl in Miami with his brother.
Since then, Buell has donated at least some of his tickets for each game to veterans, wounded veterans and Gold Star families who have lost a child in war.
“I just like giving them to the vets,” Buell said Friday. “We make sure we get a vet to virtually every game.”
One of the lucky four who will be attending Sunday’s game thanks to Buell is Marine Corps Cpl. Brian Splitt, who joined the Marines in June 1999 and was wounded in action in Iraq before being honorably discharged in June 2004.
The Arlington Heights native said he had been trying to find tickets before he was notified he would be going.
“It’s just amazing that you’ve got guys like Brad out there who have the means to do something like this and actually do it,” Splitt said. “As a veteran, I really appreciate it. It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity thanks to him.”
Splitt personally trained over 1,500 Marines, sailors and Border Patrol agents as a combat instructor. He deployed to Iraq in 2003 during the inception of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was wounded on April 3, 2003. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service medals and a Combat Action Ribbon.
Buell said he attends about two Bears game each season these days, and enjoys meeting the vets when he goes to Soldier Field.
“You think about the sacrifices these men and women have made and then you meet them and see their outlook is fantastic, and you realize these people are special,” Buell said.
As for Sunday’s winner, Buell said “I think it will be the Bears.”
If it is, and Buell is lucky enough to win the Super Bowl lottery again, he said that once again, his tickets will go to veterans.
“I just think there are people who deserve it more than me,” he said.
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