Monica Wright's Visit to VA Center

Megan Schuster
Web Editorial Assistant

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On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Lynx will host their third annual Military Appreciation Night at Target Center, in conjunction with the Minnesota National Guard. To celebrate and honor veterans even further, Lynx guard Monica Wright made an appearance at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System on Monday afternoon to meet some veterans and hear their stories.

[Related Content: Lynx Host Third Annual Military Appreciation Night]

There were plenty of Lynx fans present among the 20+ veterans that came to see Wright. Wright started off by thanking the veterans for coming, for serving their country and saying she was honored to meet them. She made her way around the room, talking to each person individually, taking pictures with them and leaving them with some autographed merchandise.

Wright comes from a military background—with both of her parents having served in the Air Force—so she said this event hit her very close to home.

“I can’t believe how many fans we have here, and the warm welcome that I received,” Wright said after the event. “I was more honored to be in their presence than they were to be in mine, because of the sacrifices they made. As athletes, we know about sacrificing our bodies, but they’ve sacrificed their bodies to an extreme for our benefit—for our safety. I am honored to have met them and to have been able to spend some time with them.”

Not only did the event mean a lot to Wright, but also to the veterans she met during her time at the VA Center. Many Minnesotans will remember Stan “Killer” Kowalski, the world famous wrestler who is a legend to this day. Kowalski served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and is currently in VA care after suffering some recent injuries.

He came down to see Wright on Monday, saying that her visit gave a big attitude boost to all the people there, and that she gained some new fans among the veteran community.

“I think what thrilled me most was coming through that door and seeing all the happy faces,” Kowalski said. “She really did a helluva job here cheering these guys up. That's what these guys need. They need more of that drop in stuff with people that are well known. It really boosts morale and I can tell.”

After her general introduction and meetings, Wright paid a special visit to a season ticket holder, Maclean Tupper.

Tupper has been a Lynx member since 2012, and is at the VA following a foot amputation he underwent on Friday. Wright and some members of the Lynx staff dropped by Tupper’s room on Monday afternoon to bring him an autographed ball from the team and his 2013 WNBA Championship ring.

“Mr. Tupper is a sweetheart—I wish I would have known him before,” Wright said after meeting Tupper. “He was just so sweet and, to have gone through what he has gone through and for him to be smiling and so, he’s just upbeat and very happy about everything. I’m humbled. That just puts perspective, to me, in my mind, especially after coming off of a loss against Phoenix about how to handle tough situations. And he sets the tone with his attitude.” Tupper was thrilled to meet Wright and said he was completely surprised when she walked into his room. While Wright was leaving, he said the visit made his “day, week, year and century,” expressing just the kind of happiness Wright was hoping to bring during her visit.

The Lynx will continue to celebrate military members, veterans and their families with Military Appreciation Night on Tuesday for the team’s game against the Los Angeles Sparks.

Wright says she plans to dedicate her performance on Tuesday night to Tupper, and to families with a long military history like her own.

“My parents, growing up, were—I’ve very blessed to have parents that were in the military from a financial standpoint and also from a discipline standpoint,” Wright said. “You can just tell that the military is a culture and it’s definitely wholesome. It has downfalls as far as having to move around and stuff, but I enjoyed being a military brat. I’m very thankful for it.”

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