KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – It’s about 1 a.m. my time, and I’ve been up 37 hours in a row, but I want to summarize a great day here.
Great to meet some servicemen and women from Connecticut. Andrea Oliveira, 26, from Danbury, who graduated from UConn’s School of Nursing, has been at Walter Reed, in Afghanistan and now here in Germany, tirelessly caring for our wounded soldiers. She has seen and experienced so much for someone her age.
It was also pretty cool to meet Staff Sgt. Michael Merritt, from Canton, who works in radiology. He couldn’t bring himself to approach Jim Calhoun, so I took the liberty of introducing them and had the pleasure of watching the coach light up when he learned the sarge was from Connecticut. This job has some perks.
Tony Hodges, an East Hartford guy who works for the Department of Defense as a civilian, was garbed head to toe in Huskies stuff, and he got to meet Kevin Ollie and the players.
Then I got an e-mail from some top brass. Col. James Mingo, originally from East Lyme, is stationed an hour from here at Heidelberg, the U.S. Army’s European Command, where he is executive officer to the commanding general. Col. Mingo is coming to the game and I hope to meet him on Friday.
“For someone who’s followed the program from the Corny Thompson days, this is so awesome for the university and the state,” Col. Mingo wrote. “I just hope the players and coaches understand how much this means to all of us and at the same time get to enjoy the experience and gain some appreciation for what serving in the military is about.”
I’m hoping to meet a couple of airmen from our state at The Base tomorrow.
And finally … Shabazz Napier was incredibly moved to hear an ailing service woman tell him “you took my pain away” at Landstuhl Medical Center. That’s the topper to my story for the front page of The Courant on Thursday. Anyway, stay safe through the storm and I’ll check in with you from Germany tomorrow.
With the time difference and the schedule, we’re working to find a way to do our live chat on Friday, game day. We’ll let you know via twitter and the blog if it’s going to happen. I’ll be tweeting from here, follow me at @AmoreCourant, and we’ve posted tons of pictures on our main website, where I’m sending in dispatches throughout the day in diary form. So stay with us for coverage of this unique Huskies experience.