Bronco Players and Cheerleaders – Visit High Park Fire ICP 6/28/2012
Incident: High Park Fire Wildfire
"We just want to honor you ," said Ben Garland, defensive end for the NFL Denver Broncos, as four players and six cheerleaders from the Broncos team visited the High Park firefighter base camp in Ft. Collins, Colorado, Thursday, June 28.
The Broncos members themselves initiated a request to come to visit firefighters. "We came to thank firefighters for their work," said defensive end Cyril Obiozor, who wears number 54. Defensive tackles Mitch Unrein (96) and Kevin Vickerson (99) joined Obiozor and Garland (63). Bronco cheerleaders Margaret, Megan, Lauren H, Jenna, Patricia, and Christina joined the players posing with grinning firefighters and camp support crews.
The visitors were dealing personally with loss from local wildfires. Margaret's grandmother remained evacuated from the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs. Just two days before his visit to fire camp, Ben Garland's grandparents lost his childhood home in that fire. Before joining the NFL, Garland played football at the Air Force Academy, where the Waldo Canyon fire burned onto Academy lands. A pilot and an engineer as well as NFL star, Garland held his head high as he enthusiastically greeted firefighters. "Lots of people have suffered more than we have," he said.
Players and cheerleaders walked through camp and met firefighters, shaking hands, asking firefighters about their homes and occupational specialties.
They took photos with Yankton BIA and Black Hills NF crews standing in chow line. They autographed camp crew members' T-shirts, gloves, and hats. Broncos fans seemed thrilled to meet the players and the cheerleaders; they seemed abashed to host celebrities who sincerely and personally thanked them for their work.
Incident Commander Beth Lund met the Broncos amid a throng of firefighters, thanking the Broncos for their visit and for lifting the spirit of the troops. A Bronco replied, "You guys are the real heroes."