By Katie Vaas
As students, we looked at the Notre Dame Football team with a sense of pride: a symbol of who we were as a school and a passion point to help us through the long weeks of study. As alumni, we do the same thing. Upon hearing the first few beats of the fight song, all the memories of tradition come flooding back and runs through our blood giving us a special spark of recollection and excitement.
This afternoon, the Notre Dame Club of Charlotte teamed up with 3rd & Goal to say “thank you” and surprise a military hero who also looks at ND with the same sense of pride as we do. James Lunn, an Army Veteran who suffers from PTSD following his two tours spent in Iraq, is a huge Irish fan. He lit up talking about the team and the players, rattling off stats and passionately discussing his predictions for the upcoming season. He told us since serving, he does not go out in big crowds or drive on the highway, so he spends much of his time at home.
James thought we had come to visit him on behalf of the 3rd & Goal simply to deliver an autographed Brady Quinn ball and talk some ND Football. However, we also had a little surprise for James, a video message from Brady! In his message, Brady personally thanked James for his service and then told him about the new TV we were also delivering. James was both shocked and elated, “Brady Quinn knows my name.” He fought back tears as we presented him with a brand new 40″ Sony flat screen TV and many large framed ND Football photographs. All gifts from Brady to both thank him for his service and lift his spirits while he is fighting to regain the mentality he had prior to Iraq.
James told us about how Brady was like a hero to him as he was playing when he spent one of his tours in Iraq (2004-2005) and following Brady and the team were a tremendous distraction and positive outlet in his life. The team still acts as that today.
For those of us that had the privilege to meet James, it was an experience that left quite the impression. James sacrificed a lot for our country and our beloved school and football team gives him solace and excitement. For us to be able to work with 3rd & Goal to give back just a little and say thank you in our own way, was special.
Thank you James for your service. Go Irish!
"I would like to Thank You Brady Quinn and 3rd & Goal for making a huge impact in my life today. The gifts were nice but the thought of the ND Alums going out of their way to show support has made me feel appreciated. I’m sure it takes lots of planning and work to become a student at Notre Dame, and I as well will try to perform at a high level in life. Brady thanks for your thoughtfulness and Teamwork to make this day memorable." - James L. Lunn