CINCINNATI - Father and son Matthew and Craig Steichen of Chicago have the goal of going to every professional football stadium in the country as part of their bucket list. They were in Cincinnati Sunday to accomplish that goal and help the military at the same time.
The Steichens travel every weekend to meet veterans and they pay the veterans' way into a game out of their own pocket. The project finds two wounded warriors in each city where there is a professional football team.
"It can almost bring a tear to my eye," wounded veteran Matthew Pyles said. "I'm a pretty tough guy. I'm very thankful it takes a lot for someone to be as selfless as these two guys. It's very much appreciated."
Wounded veteran Buck Clay said the pair are following through with their promise in an act that is meaningful to many veterans.
"There's a lot of lip service out there," Clay said. "I'm glad to see action and support us."
Clay and Pyles were invited to Sunday night's Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game through the Wounded Warrior Project.
The project is something that could not have been done without the hard work of the Steichens.
"We chose the Wounded Warrior Project. I just think it's a great project," Matthew Steichen with the Wounded Warrior Project said. "These guys go to bat for us everyday. Just giving back to them is absolutely amazing."
Craig said going to the game is more than just watching a football match up.
"They set up the guests for us in advance, and we meet them at the hotel, meet them wherever," Craig Steichen with the Wounded Warrior Project said. "It's more than just a football game, it's an experience."
The wounded veterans said they are thankful for the opportunity to go to a game/
"Most of my wounds are from combat," Pyles said. "I have PTSD."
Pyles received his wounds from serving in Iraq with the Army National Guard.
"I have a spine fracture and occurred a few traumatic brain injuries," Clay said. "Luckily through the system, it got me back on my feet."
"I'm able to get out," Pyles said. "It's very therapeutic helping others."
The veterans enjoyed the game despite a Bengals loss to the Steelers, 24-17.