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Dallas Mavericks, Former President Honor Wounded Soldiers At Basketball Game

DALLAS (CBS11)They risked their lives fighting overseas to help protect the freedoms Americans enjoy back home.

But on Monday night, it was all about the humble service members who rarely take the spotlight.

More than 100 wounded military members were flown in from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio to Dallas.

They enjoyed a dinner and then were bused over to the American Airlines Center to enjoy the best seats in the house.

"It's overwhelming is what it really is because I don't feel like I've done anything," said Maj. Amy Esterman of the U.S. Army.

Esterman is just on of the many who were honored at the Dallas Mavericks game.

Even former President W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush were there to thank the soldiers.

Wounded soldiers at Dallas Mavericks game with former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush
Wounded soldiers at Dallas Mavericks game with former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush (Jeff Paul - CBS11)

"Things like this have really helped out spirits and helped us kind of get through a time that would otherwise be very dark," said Esterman.

After suffering an abdominal injury as an Army Intelligence Officer in Afghanistan, doctors would then discover she had a brain tumor.

Esterman soon realized she was not alone in her fight outside of the battlefield.

"We have this bond where we can all instantly share with each other what's wrong with us. Like, 'oh what are you in for?'" said Esterman.

Some of their injuries are visible. Others are not. But the pain they have endured is all for the same reason… freedom.

"It really struck me some of the agony they were going through for our country," said Neal Hawks, a long-time season ticket holder.

Hawks started unofficially started "Seats for Soldiers" 13 years ago when he decided to give up his season tickets to a few injured military members.

Seats for Soldiers
The Mavericks and season ticket holders are making sure our bravest men and women who served in the military get the best seats (Jeff Paul - CBS11)

Other ticket holders caught on and now once a year every single court-side seat is of a soldier.

"They give us a reason to get out of barracks. To go and get your life back," said Staff Sgt. Dwanna Thornton, a wounded service member.

It is just a small gesture for their immense sacrifice.

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