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Soldier Lives His Dream Before Tour of Duty


Army Private Jonathan Martin enjoys his first Raider game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.Photo by Tony Gonzales.

United States Army Private Jonathan Martin will deploy for a nine-month tour of duty some time after the New Year. One of his dreams was to attend a Raider game in Oakland. Last weekend, he traveled to the Bay Area from Washington, D.C., to go to his first Raider game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. His first experience with the heart of the Raider Nation was how he hoped it would be. "I just know that I feel at home," said Martin. "I don't feel crazy anymore because I live on the other side of the country so it's relaxing and at the same time it hypes me up."

Before Sunday's game against the Broncos, "Kingsford Kirk" Bronsord and "Raider Ron" Rickard of the Bad Boyz of BBQ heard of Martin's dream of attending a Raider game and invited Martin to join them at their famous tailgate. "What inspired us was to be able to give back to these young kids that make that sacrifice to serve this county," said Bronsord. "That is the ultimate sacrifice as far as we're concerned. To get somebody out here and give him a little food and a little loving before he goes overseas, that's so minimal compared to what he's sacrificing."

Martin was shocked by the invitation, but gladly accepted. "I think he was in awe not really understanding why we wanted to do that for him," said Bronsord. "He's just a young kid and he's happy to serve the country and that's what he's looking forward to doing."

"I would like to thank Raider Ron," said Martin. "I'd like to thank him for inviting me because I've never been to one of these before."

Martin had the full Raider Nation experience, taking part in the pregame festivities and enjoying a Raider victory. "I can't put this into words," said Martin. "It's something I've been dreaming of my whole life and I'm finally here."

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