The Bucs won’t be appearing in the Super Bowl on Sunday, but one player is helping two veterans see the big game live in Minneapolis.
Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald teamed up with USAA, the Official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the NFL, and Wounded Warrior Project to award two injured veterans an experience of a lifetime – a trip to the Super Bowl.
Bucs DT Clinton McDonald – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Helmer Jonathan Flores Rivera served in the US Army from 2005 to 2009, achieving the rank of Corporal. During his service, Flores was stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany, before being deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On July 4, 2007, while conducting combat patrols in Baghdad, the vehicle Flores was riding in hit a pressure plate IED and small arms fire. In 2008, Flores medically retired from the military as a result of injuries he sustained when his military vehicle was attacked. Flores is heavily involved with Wounded Warrior Project’s Peer Support program, where he acts as a peer mentor, helping other wounded warriors in his community overcome personal challenges. Residing in the Tampa, Florida, area, Flores is a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has chosen to bring his son with him to the Super Bowl.
Ronald Holton served in the United States Marine Corps (1st Battalion 2nd Marines Charlie Company) for four years, achieving the rank of Corporal. During his service, Holton was deployed twice – first to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. During his second deployment, in Afghanistan, Corporal Holton was wounded by insurgent gunfire. Holton first connected with Wounded Warrior Project through Warriors to Work®, a veteran employment program that provided him with career guidance and support services to help him transition to the civilian workforce. Residing in the Tampa, Florida area, Ronald is a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His wife, Maria, will accompany him to the Super Bowl.
Both Jonathan and Ronald met with Clinton McDonald at USAA’s Salute to Service Military Appreciation Lounge on Saturday. Open only to current military, veterans, and their families, the lounge featured NFL coaches, players, personalities, and legends.
“Being raised in a military family, I’ve grown to understand the services and sacrifices that our nation’s men and women commit to when they dedicate themselves to defend our country,” said Clinton McDonald. “Teaming up with USAA and Wounded Warrior Project to award Jonathan and Ronald a trip to the Super Bowl is just a small token of our appreciation for all that our men and women in uniform do for us.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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