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Veteran going to the Super Bowl thanks to T.J. Watt says it will be a dream come true

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CBS News Pittsburgh Live

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Steelers may not be in Super Bowl LVIII, but one of the best linebackers in Steelers history is sending a huge football fan to the big game.

It is a dream of every football fan to go to the Super Bowl. That dream just came true for Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient Adam Alexander.

"I've been a huge fan my whole life, and it's just an unbelievable opportunity to go see the big game with one of the best in the game," Alexander said.

T.J. Watt teamed up with USAA and Disabled American Veterans to award Alexander with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The decorated veteran and Green Bay Packers fan is from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which is near Watt's hometown.

"It was shocking and humbling. I couldn't think of a better guy than T.J. Watt, being a fellow Wisconsinite and Midwestern guy, to go with. And honored that USAA and DAV considered and ultimately picked me," Alexander told KDKA-TV on Tuesday. 

Alexander enlisted in the Army Reserves in 2008. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, when he was hit in the head by sniper fire as enemy forces tried to overrun his base. Doctors gave him a 5 percent chance of survival. Alexander beat those odds. He achieved the rank of staff sergeant, and his injuries ended his service career.

His new mission is serving other veterans and raising his 1-year-old daughter. Alexander is a member of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 17 in Oshkosh.

He does fundraisers and advocates for vets in Wisconsin. He also testified before the Wisconsin State Legislature on a bill that would improve the lives of other disabled veterans.

"Being wounded and recovering from that was a huge amount of turmoil that I had to overcome, and now I like to help try to inspire people to help get them through the turmoil that they go through," he said.

Alexander's favorite team, the Packers, may not have made the Super Bowl this year, but this lucky Cheesehead will get to witness the next best thing. When Alexander goes to the Super Bowl in Paradise, Nevada, he won't be going alone. He gets to bring his father-in-law, who's a Vietnam-era Army veteran. They'll even get to meet Watt.

Watt posted about Alexander on social media, saying in part, "Army Vet SSGT Adam Alexander is living proof that those from the heartland have huge hearts!"

"I hope it kind of inspires people to maybe getting involved doesn't seem like such a chore and maybe you'll get to do cool stuff like go to the Super Bowl if you get involved," Alexander said. 

"It's going to be the opportunity of a lifetime, can't wait to get down there and have a great time," he added.

Alexander was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge and the Army Commendation Medal with Valor.

Since the Packers didn't make the Super Bowl this year, KDKA-TV asked Alexander which two teams he wants to see in the big game. He said the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions. He said he'd love to see the Lions win because they're the underdogs and everyone loves an underdog story.

You can catch Super Bowl LVIII on KDKA-TV/CBS. The game is set to kickoff at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11.    

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