Falcons Host Military Veterans at Practice

Falcons Host Military Veterans at Practice

Jay Adams

Published November 16, 2012 at 3:50 PM

SFC. Michael Schlitz, left, and Cpl. Todd Love meet the Falcons secondary

Cpl. Todd Love and SFC. Michael Schlitz were all smiles Friday as they stood on the sidelines in Flowery Branch as the Falcons made their final preparations for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals at the Georgia Dome.

Love and Schlitz, who service members severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, were special guests of the Falcons as the organization has joined forces with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation to help raise enough money to build “smart homes” for the two heroes.

The two veterans will also be honored at Sunday’s Salute to Service game at the Dome.

Click here to see a photo gallery of Love and Schlitz’s visit to Flowery Branch

The two spent the late part of Friday morning on the field with the Falcons as players approached them and chatted for a few minutes. The linebackers of D-Block requested a photo with the two heroes and the secondary followed suit, as each unit broke drills to come visit with Love and Schlitz.

“It’s just amazing,” said Schlitz, who was burned over 85 percent of his body and lost both of his arms in Iraq when his vehicle hit an IED. “Any time someone opens their doors that they normally don’t open, it’s very humbling. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see these guys practice. They’ve been doing great this year, so to see what the behind-the-scenes looks like, it’s fun.”

Once practice wrapped up, Love and Schlitz were invited by the team to join them on the field, where head coach Mike Smith made a short speech to his players and then presented the two veterans with Salute to Service game balls.

Love, who lost both of his legs and his left arm after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in October of 2010, was invited to hold a field goal attempt by kicker Matt Bryant before both of them posed for a team photo with the Falcons and then broke practice down in the huddle.

“For me, it was lots of fun because I got to hold the ball,” Love said. “That was the best part today. I got to hold the ball and they kicked it. It was fun. Too bad it wasn’t at a game. That’d be cool.”

Click here to find out more about Tunnel to Towers.

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