CLEVELAND — From a battlefield to a national stage, quite literally. A northeast Ohio veteran had the opportunity to be on stage Saturday to announce one of the 2021 NFL Draft picks.
This once in a lifetime moment caps a long and winding road.
Barry Pettit is a U.S. Army veteran who served our country as an electrician and combat engineer. He was deployed overseas and spent time in Iraq. Later, he came home with a medical discharge after sustaining an injury. Pettit was under fire in combat and his knee bent the wrong way.
Since coming home, he’s found the Wounded Warrior Project.
"I could not believe how much support that I got for me, my family. The things that they do are unbelievable,” Pettit said.
Besides the Wounded Warrior Project, there’s one other topic that Pettit is passionate about.
"I love the Browns," he said. “They're a fun team! I remember going to my first game at the old, big stadium.”
So, it's no wonder it inspired him to combine the two when the draft came to Cleveland. He had the idea of having a special section at the draft for wounded veterans.
“It was just an idea I put down on paper for the class we were doing,” Pettit said.
Turns out, he got a lot more than he bargained for.
"Wounded Warrior contacted me and said, 'Hey we got this opportunity and you just finished leader training and you're in Cleveland—do you wanna do it?'" Pettit said.
Now he's the envy of his friends and family and thrilled to have been the voice of an organization that's given him so much.
"It's an honor, just an unbelievable honor to be representing such a great organization like the Wounded Warrior Project,” Pettit said.
And he’s happy to see a spotlight on our great city.
“I want Cleveland to shine. This is my city. I mean, I love it,” he said.
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