BOSTON, MA --
Boston Bruins President Cam Neely
is a pretty down to earth person, but generally when people encounter the Hockey Hall of Famer they are a little taken aback to meet the Black & Gold's great number-8.
Today, however, the skate was on the other foot.
Neely and the Bruins organization hosted alumni of the Wounded Warrior Project for a luncheon in Banners Harbor View on the sixth floor of the TD Garden.
"Just to sit down and listen to what they’ve been through, and what it was like for them, and to be able to be in a position to host them for an afternoon is special for us," said Neely while giving the former servicemen a private tour of the Garden.
"These guys have done a lot for our country, and sacrificed a lot — all great guys, great sense of humors.
"So it was great to sit down and talk to them for a little bit, give them a tour of the building and give them an opportunity to see things that most people don’t get a chance to see," he said.
The stated purpose of the Wounded Warrior Project is threefold:
- To raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members.
- To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
- To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
The Bruins simply hoped that today's visit will raise awareness of the program and give provide these men with a fun afternoon. But for the Wounded Warrior Alumni, all of whom reside in Massachusetts and are Bruins fans, today's event was particularly special.
"It’s not everyday that Cam Neely asks you how your day is going," said Hudson's Sven Mozdiez, a former Marine Corps sergeant. "So that’s very cool, and we’re very appreciative."
Neely was very appreciative of what all the Wounded Warrior Alumni have done for everyone.
"We all have questions of what it’s like over there, and what they have to go through, and what they went through," explained Neely. "Sometimes, it’s hard to ask those questions, but I feel like these guys certainly were interested in sharing that, and I think it’s probably therapeutic for them, too.
"They were pretty open and forthright with the things that they experienced; a lot of funny stories, as well as some that you’re thankful they got out of.
"But just being able to sit down and break some bread with them was pretty cool for me," he said.