By Stewart Mednick, Department of Minnesota Vice Commander
USAA worked with the Jewish War Veterans to award Marine and Army veteran Bruce Legan with a free trip to the Super Bowl.
Can a veteran ask for a better surprise than to have Super Bowl tickets given by the Minnesota Vikings record-breaking wide receiver Justin Jefferson?
“It’s the best thing that ever happened to me!” said Legan.
Legan enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1975. He was stationed in Camp Lejeune until the Vietnam War ended. Legan was honorably discharged as a Lance Corporal. In 1987, Legan reenlisted in the U.S. Army working as a track vehicle repairman and vehicle dispatcher based in Kansas. He eventually became a heavy equipment operator in Louisiana. Legan continued his service until 1995 when he was honorably discharged at the rank of Specialist.
Now a resident of St. Paul, 70-year-old Bruce Legan is an active member of the Jewish War Veterans, is involved in the Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad, and works at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis.
“It’s a special honor to team up with USAA and the Jewish War Veterans to honor Bruce, who continues to serve his fellow veterans,” said Jefferson.
“All expenses paid. Leave your wallet at home!” exclaimed Jefferson when he presented the two oversized foam-board tickets. Legan and his brother, who he was allowed to take along as his guest, were given plane tickets, hotel rooms, meals, and access to all the Super Bowl events.
So how did this dream come true for Legan?
I received a call from JWV National Executive Director Ken Greenberg. In strict confidence, he explained that he would like me to be the point of contact for the USAA, JWV, and the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in St. Paul where the staged ruse took place. Yes, a ruse to have Legan show up under the guise of an interview by USAA to talk about his military experience.
The Friday of the video shoot came upon us quickly, and early in the morning we were all setting up. I had been in contact with Legan to firm up the schedule of events. The trick was to have Legan show up before Jefferson did, so they wouldn’t see each other before the reveal.
During the middle of Bruce’s interview, Jefferson walked in from behind where Legan was sitting with the two oversized Super Bowl Tickets in hand. I had a chill run down my spine as Jefferson presented the tickets to Legan’s elation and surprise.
I cannot say enough about the USAA organization and how much they have provided for all veterans. This was an enjoyable experience and I hope JWV collaborates with USAA again soon.
As a proud Life Member of JWV, this epitomizes the efforts and passion of how JWV and all Veterans Service Organizations can change a person’s life with a simple act of kindness.
Volume 77. Number 1. 2023