Honoring Wounded Military with Seats for Soldiers

Seats for Soldiers 2017

Check out a recap of Seats for Soldiers Night, where season ticket holders give up their courtside seats to wounded military and veterans!

DALLAS – Since he’s a native of Dallas, Claymore Kwaramba expressed great joy in being one of the wounded service members chosen to participate in the Dallas Mavericks’ 13th annual Seats For Soldiers night.

The event, hosted by the Mavs, American Airlines and Nick & Sam’s, allowed over 150 wounded service members from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio to join reserve troops in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and sit courtside at the December 4 game between the Mavs and Denver Nuggets. American Airlines provided round-trip charter transportation for the wounded service members from San Antonio to Dallas, and Nick & Sam’s provided a delicious four-course pre-game meal.

Meanwhile, Mavs season-ticket holders graciously gave up their courtside seats – valued at over $350,000 – so the soldiers could enjoy a grand night out on the town.

And as an added bonus, former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, sat courtside amongst the troops and took photos with them at halftime.

“It’s truly, truly a blessing for everything that the Mavericks do on behalf of all the troops, especially the wounded warriors,” Kwaramba said. “Just for one day to be able to just go out and experience NBA basketball right at courtside, you don’t get any better than this.”

“That was truly, truly appreciated and God bless the Mavericks for that.”

The Seats For Soldiers concept is the brainchild of season-ticket holder Neal Hawks, who encouraged other courtside season-ticket holders to donate their seats to the soldiers.

“Everybody wanted to get involved,” said Don Knobler, who has donated his courtside seats for the past seven years. “Normally you wouldn’t want to give up your front row seats, but for the people that fight and work for our country, the least we can do is give them our seats for one game.”

“We’re delighted to do it and they enjoy it.”

Soldier Robert Rupar said the Seats For Soldiers event is at the top of the soldiers’ to-do list.

“They plan this thing out months ahead and they actually fight each other almost,” Rupar said. “They’re fighting wars, and they’ll come here and they’re fighting to get on this trip to go (to Dallas).”

Israel Del Toro, who was severely injured in Afghanistan in December of 2005, came to his first Seats For Soldiers event in 2006 and has enjoyed every minute of it.

“I went until 2008, because by that time I started getting stronger and I started doing other things,” Del Toro said. “This year American Airlines and the Dallas Mavericks asked me to come back, go to the game and talk to these guys and share my experiences.”

American Airlines pilots and flight attendants eagerly volunteered their time to transport the wounded service members from and back to San Antonio.

“One thing that’s most important about doing this for the soldiers is it’s our gift back,” American Airlines captain/pilot Steven Holmstrom said. “Their gift to us is incalculable, so this is just a small something we can do to give back to them.”

“The experiences we get out of serving these folks last a lifetime.”

Holmstrom just finished his third Seats For Soldiers tour, while flight attendants Rosanna Dillow-Swacker and Debbie Campbell were finishing their first.

“My husband is a captain in the Navy and I’m used to telling the guys, when we would land state-side from the war, to never forget that they are what’s good and right about our country,” Dillow-Swacker said. “They inspire all of us to become better people.”

Campbell concurred.

“I’m so honored to be a part of this,” she said. “I know the sacrifices that these men and women have made for their country and what their families have gone through, and I’m just in awe to be able to do this for them.”

Upon arrival at DFW Airport, the plane with the wounded services members was honored with a prestigious water cannon salute. From there, they went to Nick & Sam’s for a delectable pre-game meal.

“I’m just giving back,” said Samir Dhurandhar, the corporate executive chef and partner of Nick & Sam’s. “I don’t get an opportunity to give back a lot, especially for the troops, so this is the least I can do for them.”

One of the highlights for the wounded service members occurred during a timeout of the Nuggets-Mavs game when the sellout crowd gave them a thunderous standing ovation.

“Some moments are just hard to describe in words, and that was just one of those moments,” Kwaramba said. “I was speechless, and I was looking around at some of my friends and I could just see guys getting teary-eyed.”

After the game the Mavs players, coaches and owner Mark Cuban signed autographs and took pictures with the wounded service members. It was an emotional scene.

On observing the special elaborate event, Mavs rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. said: “Something like this keeps you humble. You’ve got people out here that sacrifice a lot – including limbs.”

“It makes you appreciate the little things.”

The troops thanked all of those who made this magical night happen.

“Everyone was wonderful, the fans were great, they hosted us well, great hospitality and they gave us first-class treatment,” Kwaramba said. “It’s not every day you get courtside tickets from people who were just willing to honor what we do in serving our country, so it’s a blessing.”

Dallas Mavericks, American Airlines and Nick & Sam’s to host 13th Annual Seats for Soldiers event

Wounded service members to be honored with dinner and courtside seats to Mavs game

Special ticket offer for tonight only – $5 upper level and $30 lower level – while limited supplies last. Click here and enter promo code: SFS.

DALLAS, Texas –The Dallas Mavericks, American Airlines and Nick & Sam’s are partnering to host the 13th annual Seats for Soldiers, a one-of-a-kind experience for our nation’s military heroes. More than 100 wounded service members from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio will join reserve troops from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to enjoy courtside seats at the Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets game on Dec. 4 at American Airlines Center.

“Our annual Seats for Soldiers game is a reminder that we don’t get to enjoy the game we love without the incredible sacrifices our soldiers make,” said Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “This game is one small way for the Dallas Mavericks and our season ticket holders to say thank you and acknowledge the bravery of the men and women in uniform.”

Dallas Mavericks season ticket holder Neal Hawks originated the Seats for Soldiers concept, and he and other front-row season ticket holders have again donated their courtside seats, valued at more than $350,000. After the game, the soldiers will have the opportunity to meet the Mavs Dancers and Mavs ManiAACs, as well as players and coaches from both teams.

“Giving back to the men and women who serve our country is a tremendous honor for the 120,000 team members of American Airlines,” said David Seymour, American’s senior vice president – Integrated Operations and a veteran of the U.S. Army. “American is honored and humbled by the sacrifice these individuals have made and it is our privilege to partner with the Mavs and Nick & Sam’s to give them a much-deserved night of great food and NBA basketball.”

American will provide charter transportation between San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth through Fuel Smart, the airline’s team member-led fuel conservation program that helps provide flights for injured service members, veterans and their families using funds generated through team members’ everyday actions to save fuel. In addition, American’s pilots and flight attendants will volunteer their time for the occasion.

After arriving at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, the group will be treated to a four-course dinner at Nick & Sam’s Park Cities prior to attending the Mavericks-Nuggets game. This year’s menu, created by Nick & Sam’s Corporate Chef and Partner Samir Dhurandhar, includes a first course of assorted sushi platters, crab cakes with grain mustard aioli, colossal shrimp cocktail, and wagyu egg rolls with Sriracha aioli. The second course will be mesclun greens with raspberry vinaigrette and pine nuts. The main course will feature Allen Brothers 10 oz. prime filet, garlic mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, creamed corn and the famous Nick & Sam’s “Damn Good” fries. Dessert will feature Dallas Mavericks seven-layer cake, vanilla ice cream and petit fours. Beverage service will also be provided, all free of charge to the service members, and the Nick & Sam’s staff will also volunteer their time to host the group.

About American Airlines Group
American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld® alliance, whose members serve more than 1,000 destinations with about 14,250 daily flights to over 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.

About the Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks play in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and began as an expansion franchise in 1980. The Mavs have won three division titles (1987, 2007, 2010) two conference championships (2006, 2011) and under the leadership of owner Mark Cuban, Head of Basketball Operations/GM Donnie Nelson and Head Coach Rick Carlisle, the team won its first NBA Championship in 2011. In addition to on-court success, the Mavs are committed to making a difference in North Texas through outreach programs and the Dallas Mavericks Foundation. For more information on Dallas Mavericks players, staff, stats and tickets, please visit mavs.com.

About Nick & Sam’s
Founded in 1999 by restauranteur Phil Romano, Nick & Sam’s Uptown Steakhouse has become one of Dallas’ most popular and attractive dining destinations. Our universal appeal is a result of exceptional prime steaks, chops, seafood, and world class sushi, in addition to the best selections of Japanese Wagyu in the U.S. and paired with a Wine List of 500 labels and outstanding customer service. Nick & Sam’s name stems from the son of a friend (Nick) and Mr. Romano’s son (Sam). This restaurant is the culmination of Mr. Romano’s extensive experience in concepting, designing highly successful and original restaurants throughout the United States. An exceptional management and service staff has been assembled by Co-Owner Joseph Palladino to ensure optimum performance from day one with a goal of maintaining the highest customer service and satisfaction. Corporate Chef/Partner Samir Dhurandhar is constantly and consistently raising the bar with innovated edible conceptions using the highest quality ingredients and his pure passion to offer only the best to our guests. For more information, please visit https://nick-sams.com.

Dallas Mavericks, American Airlines and Abacus host 11th annual Seats for Soldiers event

DALLAS, Texas – The Dallas Mavericks, American Airlines and Abacus are partnering for the 11th year to host Seats for Soldiers, a one-of-a-kind experience for our nation’s military heroes. More than 100 wounded service members from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio will join veterans from the Adaptive Training Foundation and reserve troops from the Dallas/Fort Worth area will enjoy courtside seats at the Dallas Mavericks vs. Washington Wizards game on Saturday, December 12 at American Airlines Center.

“This event is always a memorable experience for everyone attending the game,” said Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “We love that this event originated with a single fan and has continued to grow year after year. It’s an inspiring reminder of the amazing people that make up our community.”

Dallas Mavericks season ticket holder Neal Hawks originated the Seats for Soldiers concept, and he and other front-row season ticket holders have again donated their court side seats, valued at more than $350,000. After the game, the soldiers will have the opportunity to meet the Dallas Mavericks Dancers and ManiAACs, as well as players and coaches from both teams.

“Giving back to the people who serve and defend our country is a tremendous honor for the 100,000 employees of American Airlines,” said David Seymour, American’s senior vice president – Technical Operations and a veteran of the U.S. Army. “We are delighted to partner with the Mavs and Abacus to say thanks and provide these men and women a well-deserved night of great food and NBA basketball.”
American will provide charter transportation between San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth through Fuel Smart, the airline’s employee-led fuel conservation program that helps provide flights for wounded warriors and veterans using funds generated through employees’ everyday actions to save fuel. In addition, American’s pilots and flight attendants will volunteer their time for this occasion.

After arriving at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, the group will be treated to dinner at Abacus prior to attending the Mavericks-Wizards game. This year’s featured menu by Abacus owner and executive chef Kent Rathbun includes a first course of a southwestern crab cake, ancho-bacon aioli, tortilla slaw and cilantro. The featured entrée will be maple-cherry glazed 24-hour braised short ribs, smoked olive oil crushed potatoes, caramelized baby carrots and roasted garlic demi. Dessert will be apple cobbler a la mode. Beverage service will also be provided, all free of charge to the service members.

About the Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks play in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and began as an expansion franchise in 1980. The Mavs have won three division titles (1987, 2007, 2010) two conference championships (2006, 2011) and under the leadership of owner Mark Cuban, Head of Basketball Operations/GM Donnie Nelson and Head Coach Rick Carlisle, the team won its first NBA Championship in 2011. In addition to on-court success, the Mavs are committed to making a difference in North Texas through outreach programs and the Dallas Mavericks Foundation. For more information on Dallas Mavericks players, staff, stats and tickets, please visit mavs.com.

About American Airlines Group
American Airlines Group (NASDAQ: AAL) is the holding company for American Airlines. Together with regional partners operating as American Eagle, American offers an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. This year American Airlines Group Inc. topped Fortune Magazine’s list of best business turnarounds and its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.