It is no secret that a major goal for the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh football team is to win a national championship–a goal the Titans were a touchdown away from accomplishing in 2016.
Nearly as important a goal for the program is being champions within the community. This they certainly have achieved.
The Titans closed out the 2016-17 academic year volunteering a record-high 1,000 hours in and around the Fox Valley and kicked-off their 2017-18 academic year community involvement Friday at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture by assisting with the Yellow Ribbon Honor Flight. The flight transports local Vietnam veterans on a Tour of Honor to Washington D.C.
It was the eighth year the Titan football team helped escort veterans on and off the plane in Oshkosh and the fourth consecutive year head coach Pat Cerroni made the trip with the veterans to Washington D.C. This year, Cerroni was accompanied on the flight by assistant coach Dennis Moon.
Players and staff started their day at Wittman Regional Airport at 4 a.m. and returned at 6 p.m. when the flight landed back in Oshkosh to thousands of well-wishers. They also were able to meet and spend time with Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Gary Littrell.
“It was very humbling. A lot of times we think about football and how important it is in our life but really these veterans risked their lives every single day for us. It was awesome to meet them, to see them and be a part of it,” said senior wide receiver Sam Mentkowski.
A total of 12 UWO players took part in the inspiring day, including first-timer Tyler Oberg who drove eight hours from Georgetown, Minn., to be there.
It’s no surprise Cerroni and his team volunteer each year for the Yellow Ribbon Honor Flight. The 11th year head coach is a veteran himself, having served three and a half years in the Air Force.
Passionate for veterans and giving back to their communities, the Titans will also host an annual Armed Forces Day during the season. This year’s Armed Forces Day is set for Nov. 3 against UW-Eau Claire. All Veterans will get into the game free with a military ID.