Sergeant First Class Nick Hanley was with his family at the Sea-Tac USO Center when Bobby Wagner entered.
The 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Cyber Network Defender at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and a 20-year veteran of active service in the United States Army was at the USO Airport with his wife Melissa and their two children.
Wagner was at the USO airport carrying gifts. He’s a Santa linebacker.
The All-Pro Seahawks joined Captain David C. Wood, retired Army General and chief pilot in Seattle for Delta Airlines, to surprise the Hanley family with four round-trip plane tickets, as well as four Seahawks home game v Detroit tickets Jan 2.
“I want to close down at Delta for helping me send a few families home for the holidays,” Wagner said of the Seahawks’ airline partner.
The company supplies the chartered jet and the team’s crew to every road game of the season.
“We tried to recognize a family in the military that does an incredible job,” Wagner said before his Seahawks (5-8) faced the Los Angeles Rams (9-4) in a must-see game at SoFi Stadium on Tuesday. . “Obviously, they spend a lot of their time fighting for the country, and we wanted to take the time to recognize a particular family for the work they have done. “
Wagner didn’t just recognize CFS Hanley for his military career and missions with one of the Army’s elite units – and most deployed far from home. He highlighted what his wife Melissa does as an army wife raising 7-year-old son Brooks and 4-year-old daughter Vivian.
Last month, Wagner spoke at length in another of his midweek press conferences about his respect and appreciation for women in our society, and how they deserve more.
Any army chief will quickly tell you that the backbone of the military is the military’s spouse.
Melissa Hanley is an extraordinarily strong backbone.
She is a Military Family Life Counseling Therapist with the 555th Engineer Brigade at JBLM. It provides services to soldiers, spouses and families, especially when a soldier is away from his family.
Melissa has co-led a women’s mentoring program at JBLM for the past two years. She is an active USO Northwest volunteer at the Shali USO Center in McChord Field on JBLM.
“We went and surprised them with tickets to the game and had a lot of fun with their kids,” Wagner told SFC Hanley and his family.
“His daughter was pretty funny.”
Why Wagner traveled to the USO from the airport for some Seahawks free time to deal with COVID-19 cases at the end of a long, mediocre Seattle season in preparation for the biggest game of the team this season?
“It’s just understanding,” said the 31-year-old father of a young girl. “I don’t think people realize what a military family goes through. I think they are sometimes forgotten too.
“We just wanted to have the opportunity to let them know that they haven’t been forgotten and understand that it’s a little bit like an NFL player. Much of our time is spent studying cinema and playing this game, you forget about the family who also have to put up with your loved one not to be there for you.
“It’s just a way, I thought, partnering with Delta, to send love.”
Trip to Silicon Valley
Wagner is sending love and opportunity in more ways than one this holiday season.
The Seahawks co-captain and NFL co-leader in the sacks with 152 entries in Tuesday’s game also takes nine high school and college students to Silicon Valley. He’s keen to return to the California Bay Area to visit venture capitalists and learn more about an industry Wagner is keen to pursue. And he wants to take students with him.
Wagner is running an online writing competition. He will select nine winners for a trip he took a few years ago with his Seahawks teammate Duane Brown a few years ago.
“It changed my life,” Wagner said of his trip to Silicon Valley, “so I’m going to give this opportunity to nine people.”
“It’s my favorite number,” Wagner said.
“The way you let me know you’re interested is: write as much as you can on Twitter, I think it’s 160 characters, why you want to go and what you want to learn on this trip. Use the hashtag #tackleeverything. When you do, I’ll read it. I am going to see him.
“I’m not saying we’re going to find winners right away. It’s a bit of an idea that came to me late at night. … We will choose nine people. We’re going to take them to Silicon Valley and we’re going to have the same experience, or much of it – or, hopefully, better.
“We’ll see if we can blow this up… help the kids.” “
Wagner said he was inspired by the homemade idea of the trip to Silicon Valley for young adults by the ridiculously bloated and “viral” way of his comments the week before. about mayonnaise went online.
“I never put mayonnaise on anything. Mayo is disgusting, ”Wagner said, almost at random, at his press conference midweek before the Seahawks’ victory in Houston.
There were 9 million impressions of this comment on The News Tribune’s Seahawks Twitter post about his bashing of mayonnaise.
Wagner has heard from mayo fans, other mayo haters, and mayo companies. Even the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, the college football playoff game that will be played between North Carolina and South Carolina in Charlotte next week, has let Wagner know what he thinks about his removal of the condiment.
Wagner figured if his flippant comment on mayonnaise could generate more buzz than anything about the Rams, Cardinals, or anything he’s been saying all year football-related, why not pitch initiatives that actually help people rather than just entertain – or, in the case of mayonnaise lovers, seemingly infuriate them?
“The past week has been interesting,” said Wagner. “I mentioned the mayonnaise and it got out of proportion.”
However, he couldn’t resist further mayonnaise digs.
“I would say 90% of the people I talk to don’t have mayonnaise in their fridge,” he said. “That says a lot.
“I took a lot of heat for that. I even got a certain company to send me a record, which is good – but I think they’re like the eighth or ninth best mayonnaise in the world. So I can’t say it’s a great success either. …
“I’ve talked about a lot of things so far this year: financial literacy over and over again. I randomly mentioned mayonnaise, and this is what is going viral.
“I was like, ‘OK, let’s see if we can make something else a big deal.'”
During his 10 years as the Seahawks’ defense chief, Wagner randomly surprised West Seattle Safeway buyers by purchasing all of their Thanksgiving groceries.
He partnered with the Seattle Low Income Housing Institute project to house the homeless. He has led “Walk with Wagner” events to raise awareness about stroke in western Washington.
Now he’s empowering a military family and college students to learn Silicon Valley business acumen.
No wonder Wagner was nominated by the Seahawks in 2019 for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
No wonder Seahawks players vote Wagner as their team captain year after year.
“Bobby continues to have an amazing voice for our team,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last month, after Wagner co-hosted a team reunion with Russell Wilson and Brown the day after the seventh loss. Seattle in 10 games, at home against Arizona. “The guys really admire him and really rely on him.
“They are still counting on him to get by.
This story was originally published December 21, 2021 11:28 a.m.