CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With the Super Bowl just a few hours away, Panthers superstar Christian McCaffrey is making sure a United States Marine will get to watch the big game in person.
On Wednesday, McCaffrey tweeted that he was proud to present a trip to the Super Bowl to Sgt. Maj. Luis “Chino” Leiva.
McCaffrey teamed up with USAA and the Marine Corps Association & Foundation to award Leiva two tickets to the game in Miami.
“Sgt. Maj. Leiva started serving this country in the Marines before I was born and is still serving today, which is remarkable,” McCaffrey said. “I am thankful to be able to team up with USAA and the MCA&F to award a trip to the Super Bowl to Sgt. Maj. Leiva and am looking forward to personally thanking him for his continued service when we meet at the Super Bowl.”
Leiva first joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1990. During his military service career, he has been deployed to Iraq (2006-2007), Afghanistan (2009-2010), South Korea and Japan. He has also been stationed at various bases stateside.
Since August 2019, Leiva has been stationed at the School of Infantry East/Camp Geiger.
With a decorated career of service spanning three decades, Leiva has been awarded accolades including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal with four gold stars, the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star and the Combat Action Ribbon with gold star.
He said he had no idea the Marine Corps Association entered him to win the trip to Miami, and he’s not even a football fan. But he told Channel 9 this is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
“He (McCaffrey) is a phenomenal athlete but even more than that, he is a phenomenal individual who supports the military and goes above and beyond to try and give back,” Leiva said.
The Marine said he plans on attending the Super Bowl with his older brother, Jorge.
This isn’t the first gesture we've seen McCaffrey make to service members.
Last month, he wore cleats honoring veterans during the league’s “My Cleats My Cause” campaign. McCaffrey also took time to invite service members inside the Panthers’ practice facility.
McCaffrey joined Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk this season as the only players in NFL history to record 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season. He was selected as the first-team running back and the top flex player in voting by the 50 members of a nationwide media panel who regularly cover the NFL.
McCaffrey finished the season with 2,392 yards from scrimmage, which ranks third in NFL history behind Chris Johnson and Faulk.
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