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Members enjoy some U of M football

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tra'Vonna Hawkins
  • 164th Airlift Wing

Members of the 164th attended the University of Memphis versus University of South Florida football game at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. November 7, 2020.

Every year the team has a game dedicated to military appreciation, however, this year, due to the coronavirus outbreak, they did things a little differently. According to Amn Haleigh Eggert, an admin from the 164th Force Support Squadron who attended the game, she acquired her tickets by volunteering on her off day to tour the athletics facility Monday, November 2nd. They even ran into a few football players as they were running to get lunch or complete tasks.

“It was really cool seeing all the behind the scenes of what they do to prepare for the games, even such as the uniform.,” said Eggert. “I remember they were talking about how they pick the uniforms and seeing that all coming together the game was really cool.”

While touring the athletic facility, not only did they get to run into players, but they also spoke with the coaches and Steven A. Mizell, the director of player relations.

“We went to the facility for Military Appreciation Day, and Coach Silverfield came out and talked to us and was really proud that we were there to tour the facility,” said Master Sgt Deanne Davis, a loadmaster with the 155th Airlift Squadron who has worked for the guard for 23 years and also attended the football game.

After touring the facility, the Coach Ryan Silverfield, the head coach of the Memphis Tigers football team, gave all the volunteers an opportunity to get free tickets to the military appreciation. This led to memorable and meaningful moments for some of the members who went to the game.

“It makes me proud. I’m proud to serve in the Air Force, in the Air National Guard. It makes me very proud,” said Davis.

I’m glad to see that places like the university take notice,” said Airman 1st Class Matthew Williams, a loadmaster with the 155th Airlift Squadron, “It’s easy to forget (the military) when there’s a whole lot of movements and voices and stuff going on, on campus. It’s nice to that the military still gets remembered somewhere in the mix of all that.”

For some members not only was this a humbling experience but it an experience they could share with loved ones.

“I went with my brother; it was actually the first time he ever got to go to a Memphis game,” said Eggert. “I remember we would drive past the Liberty Bowl stadium, and every time he was like, ‘Please take me to the game, please. I want to go.’ So, when this opportunity presented itself, I was like, okay Joe, let’s go the game.”

Opportunities like also excite the loved ones who also get to share the experience.

“He wore his favorite shirt, his ‘Proud Air Force Brother’ shirt. He’s my biggest supporter. He was so thankful, the whole car ride home, he was like, ‘Thank you so much. Thank you, Haleigh, I had a lot of fun at the game. I can’t believe I actually went to a Tiger game.’ He saw it like the NFL,” said Eggert, “That put a smile on my face because sure it’s a football game to me but it’s a lot more than that to him. He feels that his sister is actually doing something in the world.”