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Army Son’s Wish Granted By Redskins

Posted by Andrew Walker on July 26, 2012 – 9:09 pm

Robert Griffin III was in eighth grade when his father was deployed to serve his country in Iraq.

Griffin III did all he could to distract himself from thinking about the danger his father faced in the Middle East — digging deeper into an already-busy athletic lifestyle, playing video games or being with his friends and family — but nothing could completely keep the 13-year-old Griffin III’s father out of the back of his mind.

Quinten Shibusawa knows those feelings all too well.

Shibusawa, 15, has been fortunate enough to see his father return home from two tours in Iraq and his saw sister return from her tour there just last year.

So when Quinten learned his father, Olaf, a major in the U.S. Army, would soon be shipped off for another tour — this time in Afghanistan — the rising 10th grader at Kettle Run High School in Nokesville, Va., wanted to do something special for his old man, a lifelong Redskins fan.

“I found out my dad wasn’t going to be able to go to any games this year,” Quinten said. “I knew he might not be able to even make it to training camp, so I sent a letter asking if maybe we could come by and meet some of the players.”

That letter — handwritten on a sheet of notebook paper — was sent directly to Redskins’ owner Daniel M. Snyder.

Quinten said he was unsure if he’d ever hear back.

“I didn’t think it would really get anywhere,” he said. “But it was worth a try.”

And though the Shibusawas have their favorite Redskins veterans like tight end Chris Cooley and linebacker London Fletcher, Quinten had secretly set his sights on meeting Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft.

Quinten said the first time he actually watched Griffin III play was in the Alamo Bowl last December, a shootout between Baylor and Washington that Griffin III’s Bears won 67-56.

“I turned on the Alamo Bowl, and I was like, ‘Dang!’” Quinten said. “I was like, ‘This is the player that we need to get.’ And, sure enough, that’s how it turned out.”

‘I’m in shock’
Meanwhile, at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va., Snyder and his staff were more than happy to honor Quinten’s request.

The teenager said he recently received the shock of his life when he got a voicemail from the Redskins asking him and his family to come out training camp.

“I was like, ‘What?!” Quinten recalled thinking upon receiving the call.

And there they were Thursday at the team’s first training camp practice of the 2012 season, sitting under a tent and taking in the sights and the sounds.

Quinten’s mother, Julie, who has served in the military herself, said the experience was “surreal.”

“It’s something that I could’ve never done for them, and it’s very emotional,” Julie said. “It’s just surreal, and everybody’s been so incredibly nice and gone up and beyond what we ever could’ve expected.”

Olaf Shibusawa — already incredibly proud of his son prior to the trip — said he was shocked to hear about Quinten’s letter to the Redskins, his favorite team since he was a child.

“Even today I’m in shock,” Olaf said Thursday.

Olaf said has gone to great lengths to keep up with the Redskins while overseas.

“I’ve woken up at 2 o’clock in the morning to watch the Redskins when I was in Iraq previously,” he said.

After practice ended Thursday, Olaf had several more-than-willing Redskins players sign his lucky Army helmet, which has gotten him through two tours and, he anticipates, will get him through his next tour in Afghanistan.

But the final player to sign Olaf’s Army helmet was none other than Griffin III, who could relate directly to what Quinten was going through.

“I was in a similar situation,” Griffin III said after meeting the Shibusawas. “It’s not easy by any means. It was good to meet them, give them a little bit of advice and just let him know that he’s not alone and some of the things he can do to help him get through that time.”

Griffin III said children in today’s military families can often be affected by war-themed video games like “Call of Duty” and “Ghost Recon,” where “you’re shooting bullets and you’re getting hit by bullets, but by the end of the game, you’re still alive.”

“So I think for a teenager growing up, it’s hard because their parents are going off to war. You don’t get to talk to them, you don’t know if they’re coming back, and I think that can be devastating for a lot of kids and sometimes kids go astray just because they don’t know what to do.”

Quinten said meeting Griffin III was something he’ll always remember — and not just because of his notoriety on the football field.

“It’s great because people don’t really know what it feels like for a parent to be over (serving duty),” he said. “It’s pretty special.”

And just what did Griffin III tell Quinten about his father’s upcoming deployment?

“You just gotta try to say positive and know that no matter what you do, you’re doing it to make your dad or your mom proud,” Griffin III said. “So no matter what happens, you’ll be alright.”

Here’s video of Griffin III meeting the Shibusawas Thursday after the Redskins’ first training camp practice of the 2012 season at Redskins Park.

Here’s some photos from the Shibusawas’ trip to Redskins Park on Thursday:

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Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Army Son’s Wish Granted By Redskins”

  1. By Trudy Williams on Jul 26, 2012 | Reply

    This letter touched me deeply im sitting here crying, not to many “stars” weather football or actors would here the voice of a child wanting something so bad for his father.In my heart the Shibusawas are heros for serving our country, for that Im very thankful, GOD BLESS YOU BOTH. But most of all the values that young man of yours posses is that of a very speical young man brought up to courages parents, Tell Quinten his call to duty was fulfilled when his call came. I would be so proud.. i will pray your fathers safe journey back, and bless your family. I love a happy story ❤

  2. By skbeeasy on Jul 26, 2012 | Reply

    Glad to see Bob Griffin not only begin his career on the right foot but also support the troops through his kindness of signing that guy’s football. I sure hopes that Shanahan can really develop this kid into one hell of a QB. He is already one hell of a person. ……….realsportsrealtalk.wordpress.com…..

  3. By Eric on Jul 26, 2012 | Reply

    It is good to see the players taking time for their fans and too see the rgIII isn’t arrogant and above the fans. Skins fans stick by their team even when they lose and will have faith in him no matter what he does. It’s good to see him already giving it back. On the other hand you should probably have someone else proof read your stuff or if you don’t proof read you should start

  4. By Lisa Gregory on Jul 26, 2012 | Reply

    I am so happy for you sir. I loved serving under you in Iraq and you deserved this. I hope you keep you head in afghan. and remember this NOTHING IS ROUTINE!! Please dont get complacent. Come back soon!!

  5. By Olaf Shibusawa on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    To the entire Redskins organization,
    Thank you for such a wonderful day yesterday, there are better men and women that deserved it more than me but I cannot adequately describe what that day meant for us. I really think that deployments are hardest on the families back at home, they deal with all the hardships and worries but no one ever thanks them – no medals and no handshakes by random strangers. So while I greatly enjoyed the day yesterday (I was still in shock this morning) it meant even more to Quinten. To see Robert Griffin III make that personal connection with my son that only someone who has had a parent deploy can understand was very touching. He told Quinten about how his father deployed on his birthday and to be good to his mother while I’m away.
    I had no idea my son was planning on writing you. When we found out I was mobilizing we quickly realized that I would not be home when the season started and that I would not be able to come home on mid tour leave and go to a game (which I was able to do on my second Iraq tour). We were both greatly disappointed since we make it a point to attend at least one game per season and it is this disappointment that led him to write those letters to Mr. Bruce Allen and Mr. Dan Snyder.
    You can’t imagine the excitement in the house when we found out that Redskins called to invite us to the training camp. Even though everyone was so very nice to him when we were coordinating the schedule what your entire organization did was just way beyond our expectations and very humbling. From the moment Billy Embody greeted us at the VIP tent to the moment drove out of the Redskin Park parking lot everything was perfect. The entire staff was incredibly professional and genuinely warm. At one point Brian Gaines and I were talking about some of the alumni and I mentioned that Dexter Manley was my all-time favorite player and that I have his jersey – next thing I know Brian hands me the phone and tells me #72 wants to say hi. It was incredible how everyone went out of their way to show us such an incredible time.
    Again, thank you for everything.

    MAJ Olaf Shibusawa

  6. By larryrobertw2 on Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

    Truely humbling to read and watch. With all the is going on in the world good bad and in between, a very humanity inspiring article. An amazing act of love for family on Quentin’s part and true HTTR fandom. Truly proud to see the Redskins Organization, Mr Snyder and Team take time to appreciate our Military Men, Women and Families. I am prouder to be a part of the Redskin Nation Family today. God Bless America, Our Military and the Washington Redskins!!!!!!

  7. By Nora Olave-Shibusawa on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    I coould not be more proud of my son and my grandson. I just adore them!

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