War veterans take in Milwaukee Bucks game for free

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Tuesday, March 19th marked the 10-year anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War. Since then, 3,400 men and women from Wisconsin have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many of their lives have been changed forever. Some veterans had a chance Tuesday evening to experience a Milwaukee Bucks game — for free.

It was a small gesture, but one that meant a great deal to the servicemen and women at the Bucks game Tuesday evening.

Sitting courtside and watching the Milwaukee Bucks warm up, Jeff Vorpahl showed no physical signs of his injuries.

“I have a lot of issues with anxiety and stuff. Mostly just personal. I keep it to myself. I`ve become a good actor through the years,” Vorpahl said.

Vorpahl was hit by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq in July of 2006.

“When the bomb blew up I was sprayed with shrapnel in the head. I got hit three times, blew out my teeth, broke my jaw,” Vorpahl said.

It has been 10 years since the start of the war that changed Vorpahl’s life forever — and the life of Ed Wagner, who served three tours in Iraq.

“There`s just no way to describe it. It has changed my family life as well as my work life, everything I do,” Wagner said.

On Tuesday night, 14 servicemen and women and their families were treated to a free Milwaukee Bucks game, organized by Operation Warrior Wishes.

“It`s very humbling. Not too many opportunities like this arise and when we have opportunities like this it`s really, really nice,” Nick Mapson said.

Several of them are with the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th fighter ring, that only returned from deployment one week ago.

The question these Iraq war vets say they’re most often asked is whether it was all worth it. They say it’s a question without an easy answer.

“We’re doing a lot of good. We are making a difference. We need to stay and finish what we`ve started otherwise all those people who have died would be in vain,” Wagner said.

“I’m proud of what I did. I’d do it again. I always say if it had been done the right way it would have been a lot more worth it. I guess we`re just gonna have to see what the future brings,”┬áVorpahl said.