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10-year-old Liam's wish to meet the "real guys" behind Call of Duty

  • Liam officially being commissioned in to the Arizona Army National Guard.

  • Liam earning his first badge.

  • Liam posing with the "real heroes" behind Call of Duty.

  • Liam teaching his heroes the moves of Call of Duty.

“ I like army men because they protect our country and save people. ”

- Liam

Every so often, a unique wish will unite diverse communities for a common purpose: to provide an Arizona wish kid with a once-in-a-lifetime wish experience. These wish experiences are not only memorable for the wish kids, but also allow communities to experience the power of a wish.

Wish kid Liam, 10, had that kind of unique wish. He wished to meet the “real guys” behind the Call of Duty video game.

Liam, who was going through treatment for cancer, was prepared when his wish granters asked what his one true wish would be. He didn’t even hesitate; he knew he wanted to meet the army men that were in his favorite video game Call of Duty.

“I like army men because they protect our country and save people,” said Liam.

To grant Liam’s very special wish, in came the heroes of the Arizona Army National Guard. Not only did they volunteer to be part of the wish, but made the wish experience one Liam and everyone involved will remember for the rest of their lives.

“I’ve been planning wishes for almost 8 years, and Liam’s wish has definitely been one of the best wishes I’ve been involved in,” said Dana Snyder, wish manager. “The best part was how the Army guys looked to Liam like he was the hero and they completely bent over backwards to make his wish day special.”

The fun began bright and early when an SUV limo brought Liam and his family to the Papago Army National Guard base in Phoenix.

Once at the base, Liam received his “orders” for the day. From Hummer roll-over simulators to playing his favorite video game with his heroes, Liam had the line-up of his dream.

Liam was welcomed by the military men with the special honors and recognitions that they give to heroes.

“As soon as his limo arrived at the base, he was greeted with a standing ovation by 60-70 Army members saluting him,” said Snyder. “Throughout the day, army members welcomed him and gave him badges they had earned – directly off their uniforms.”

“The Army men are tough and strong,” said Liam. “I really had a lot of fun, being at the base and trying all of the simulators.”

“The Arizona Army National Guard showered him with gifts,” said Matt, Liam’s dad. “He was smiling from ear to ear and it is one of those things that he will always remember and cherish.”

It was a day that was beyond the expectations of everyone involved, especially Liam’s. “My wish day was more than what I had imagined it to be,” said Liam. “Thank you Arizona Army National Guard for letting me have this day and being part of my wish.”

“Make-A-Wish Arizona did a phenomenal job in making sure the wish was everything Liam wished for,” said Matt.

Thank you Arizona Army National Guard for letting me have this day and being part of my wish. ”

— Liam

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1 Comment

Matt Balog

Liam's dad here. He had such an awesome time. He was in awe and overwhelmed. He was so happy. The Make A Wish ladies Dana, Artemis and Danielle, went above and beyond anything we could have expected. The Army National Guard folks were inspirational, kind, giving and showed the heart of the military we all know exists. Thank you all for your giving and the caring you showed to my son battling Leukemia. You made a day for him that will last in his memory forever. He wears his uniform nearly every day since his wish day. Changing out the patches. Fighting to keep your neighborhood safe from zombies. Thank you all! You've given a boy and his parents an amazing bright spot during his on-going treatment.

May 26, 2014 - 9:34 AM

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