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13Feb/17Off

Bring the Army-Navy Game to War Veterans

The Army-Navy Game is always a form of inspirational story in December every year that brings out a sort of attention that rivets the nation for a few days. From fanfare a few days before the game to game day itself when Presidents are commonly VIPs for the game, this traditional rivalry between two of the nations military outfits is a game fit for any Super Bowl. For Bennett and Vivian Levin in 2005, it was an excellent opportunity to use this sports extravaganza to do some good for the nation's wounded veterans that came back from the Middle East.

After listening to radio reports of injured American troops, they said, "We have to let them know we care". So they decided to organize a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3. So started their inspirational story to help the less privileged.

In order for Benneth and Virian, who are self made millionaires, to set up this event, they organized their own railway line by getting others interested party to sponsor trains. In all they got 15 other rail cars to supplement the three rail cars and two locomotives they owned. They also got Amtrak to transport these cars to D.C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later. Conrail also provided the servicing needed for the train which Benneth and Virian named the Liberty Limited. The fact that they managed get the trains together was an inspirational story itself.

At the veterans end, the couple approached Walter Reed's Hospital Commanding General through the Army War College Foundation. The general loved the idea of this inspirational story, but had to agree with certain conditions laid out by the Levins to make this a truly veterans events. There were to be no press, media, civilians, pentagon or politicians on board the Liberty Limited. The stage was set for about 90 of these veterans to be honored in the most traditional military manner.

The War College secured the seats at the stadium for the veterans. Corporate donors sponsored the goodie bags, equipment, gifts, etc. A lunch was even thrown in for the attendees who had also enjoyed the luxurious service, food and drinks on board the Liberty Limited while traveling to the stadium.

The game itself was a blow out for the Army, in usual style, but the veterans soaked up the pleasure and kind acts offered by the Levins and other. It was truly an inspirational story, and goes to show that people with money still remembered to do their share for those in greater needs. Since than the Liberty Limited has become a familiar tradition at the Army Navy Game. It is also one of the few things veterans of the United States military look forward to.

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