By Olivia Schaller, Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles Cheerleader Savannah fully embraced the team’s mission of service while participating in the Pro Blitz 2020 Tour through ProTour Productions and Armed Forces Entertainment, spending a week and a half traveling to military bases in Japan and Korea, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Savannah joined seven other cheerleaders and two mascots from across the league. They all shared the same goal: To bring joy and a sense of home to the men and women who are serving our country overseas. As the team representatives provided a personal touch point with the NFL, the military members left a lasting impression on them.
“They completely inspired us,” Savannah said. “It is difficult to fully comprehend what they experience on a day-to-day basis, their courage and the sacrifices they make, until you witness it in person. My heart was touched in so many ways. Having the opportunity to meet these service members was truly life-changing and I came back with so much knowledge. I have always had a great appreciation for our active service members and veterans and this tour provided me the chance to express it deeply.”
One of Savannah’s most memorable moments occurred at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, on the first day of the tour. That is where she met Lieutenant Colonel Mitch “Swede” Maury, a die-hard Eagles fan from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Savannah grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, not too far from the Lehigh Valley. While the two discussed their Pennsylvania roots and being passionate Eagles fans, Savannah recorded a special video message for Lieutenant Colonel Maury’s son back home. At the end of the day, Lt. Col. Maury gave Savannah a token of his appreciation.
“It was a very special moment when he gave me his challenge coin,” Savannah said. “It was a huge honor to receive that from him because I knew it was a very meaningful gesture. It is tradition to pass a challenge coin along by doing a formal handshake and when I held it in my hand, I couldn’t believe it. I had never experienced something like that before and I am proud to carry the coin.”
Another part of the tour included conducting a cheerleading clinic at the Sasebo, Japan base for the families of military members. As an early childhood education and special education major at Marywood University, Savannah felt right at home.
“This is where I felt totally in my comfort zone,” Savannah said. “I was overwhelmed with joy to be able to instruct a cheerleading clinic in a completely different environment. We taught the children a routine and then they performed it for their families.”
During this 10-day tour, Savannah was also able to spend Super Bowl Sunday with members of the military at Camp Humphreys in South Korea, watching the game together.
“It was an incredible honor to participate in this tour and to be able to watch the big game together, which unites so many people through football,” Savannah said. “It meant the world to me.”
Savannah was able to form unique relationships with the servicemen and women overseas, while proudly representing the Eagles organization.
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