View Full Version : Steelers players visit VA Hospital

11-10-2007, 08:20 AM
Once again, I am humbled by the hearts of our Steelers. No flashing around of cash, promises of trips and cars ala Ocho Cinco. Instead, they show their apprecaition by the simple gift of their time, their smiles, and their thanks to the real heros in our country. Be sure to check out the picture gallery. It will make your day....it did mine.

Steelers players visit VA Hospital in honor of Veteran's Day
Saturday, November 10, 2007
By Teresa Varley

In honor of Veteran’s Day on Sunday, Nov. 11, several Steelers players visited the VA Hospital in Pittsburgh’s Oakland area and it was a great experience for the players and those they spent time visiting.

“I have such respect and admiration for our soldiers and military and what they do for our country,” said center Sean Mahan. “Without them I couldn’t do what I do. They keep us safe. It’s very important for them to know my support is 100 percent behind them.”

There was a definite buzz throughout the hospital as the players made their way from room to room, with some patients greeting them at the door, while others who didn’t realize they would get a visit, were wide eyed like a kid at Christmas when Mahan, safety Troy Polamalu and offensive tackle Max Starks walked into their room.

It was an emotional visit for some, such as Mike Nieto, who was an Army Ranger from 1967-71 and served in the Vietnam War. Nieto, who is from West Virginia, is a life-long Steelers fan and recently underwent a liver transplant. But the visit, while it made him happy, also brought tears.

“It was something. It was really something,” a choked up Mike Nieto said. “It’s really nice to know they appreciate what we have done.”

The emotions in the next room were a little bit different. Tommy Baker, who was in the Army from 1970-73 and spent a year in Vietnam, got the news he had been waiting for just moments before the players arrived in his room – that a liver was found for him and his transplant would soon happen.

That, combined with the visit from the players, made for a perfect day for him.

“That was great,” said Baker of the visit, which included a team photo the three players signed. “It gave me a great uplifting. It really got my spirits up.”

And his thoughts on the transplant soon happening?

”It’s going to be a great Christmas,” said a beaming Baker.

Polamalu has a special place in his heart for veterans as his grandfather, and both of his wife Theodora’s grandfathers, served in World War II.

“I think a syndrome that America has is that we tend to forget our veterans a lot,” said Polamalu. “I think it’s sad to be forgotten. It’s a shame the way they are forgotten.”

One thing they don’t have to worry about is any of the three players who were there forgetting them and the sacrifices they have made. All of them were moved by the time spent there and understand the value and importance of veterans and those currently serving our country.

“Every citizen in the United States should be blessed to be able to walk around with the freedoms that we have, to be able to walk down the streets and not have to worry about IED’s and weapons and constant fear in their lives,” said Starks, who made a USO Tour several years ago and has seen first-hand what it is like in other countries. “That is a blessing and something not to be taken for granted. We could have been born into any other country or situation around this world, but we are here in the United States. Our men and women are across the seas protecting our civil liberties and keeping us safe so that when we go out on Sundays we don’t fear for our lives. That’s a tremendous blessing to have.”

“I think anybody that can spend time with veterans not just on veterans’ day but every day just to thank them for the service they provide for us.”

11-10-2007, 10:49 AM
Great thread Stillersforme...
Its always good to hear of the players visiting and doing things to help the elderly or veterans or children. They should ... Its because of our veterans that we are living in freedom today..

11-10-2007, 09:53 PM
Class vs. horses A$$

I love the fact that Steelers players recognize the dedication it takes to serve our country and that they will go out of their ways to pay tribute to the true heroes of our country!

11-11-2007, 12:04 AM
doesnt surprise me to see starks there.. i've heard he's a really good guy. im sure polamalu and mahan are just as great of guys also.

11-11-2007, 01:32 AM

Good for them...

and good for them for recognizing that there are people more important then them in this country.

While Starks ticks me off on the field... he is a very good man.

11-11-2007, 09:53 AM
that's the way I like it. World Class Organization with world class people.

11-11-2007, 10:58 AM
Didn't Max Starks go to Iraq to visit the troops?

11-11-2007, 09:45 PM
Yeah it said he went on a USO tour at some point