Eagles fan, soldier shows true meaning of teamwork
PHILADELPHIA - November 9, 2010 (WPVI) -- Every picture tells a story and the one above is of Eagles head coach Andy Reid and a new friendship forged overseas. In the cockpit in the picture, sits Staff Sergeant Jimmy Bygrave from Upper Darby. A huge Eagles fan, he hit it off with Reid when the coach and his colleagues took an offseason trip to Afghanistan with the USO.
"Those guys are great and it's amazing they would fly to a place like that, it's in a dangerous area, just to come out and say hi and show some support," Bygrave said.
Back home and safe, Bygrave got the thrill of a lifetime when he led his beloved Eagles onto the field Sunday carrying the Air Force flag, but Action News had an even bigger surprise for him and his wife Kate - a reunion with Reid himself.
The two talked football and airplanes.
"He was fired up about the Philadelphia Eagles, so when I got there he grabbed me and took me over to [a] plane, made me climb this ladder, that's his pride and joy," Reid said.
And then the coach surprised the soldier with that special picture, framed and autographed, but there's a funny thing about that photo -
"I remember cause you were joking about that ladder being able to hold you up," Bygrave said to Reid.
Reid replied, "I told these guys, this is like 30 feet up. [Jimmy] flew up the thing and then I climb up and the bars are bended."
The Eagles have always had a unique kinship with the Armed Forces, but Reid now has a unique perspective. Having been there, having seen it, his few days in that warzone half a world away will forever impact how he coaches and how he lives his life.
"If you could see the teamwork that goes on over there and it's teamwork for war, so these guys are fighting for their lives and for our country, but it's still teamwork," Reid said.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words; in this case, it's much more than that.
It's about a soldier and his passion for his country and his football team.
It's about a coach and his appreciation for those risking their lives for our freedom and a new message, written by Reid, felt by us all, "Thanks for everything."
philadelphia eagles, afghanistan, andy reid, nfl, jamie apody
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