The University of Nebraska Athletic Department declared the "Huskers for Heroes" program a success, as 1,685 Holiday Bowl tickets were purchased by Husker fans and given to active Naval and Marine military personnel stationed in the San Diego area last week.
The generous donations by Husker fans made it possible for military personnel to enjoy the Holiday Bowl game at no charge.
"We appreciate our fans doing this for men and women who are serving our country while located in the San Diego area," Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said. "We appreciate our fans' loyalty and participation. This not only allowed veterans and active military personnel in the area to enjoy personal time and see a Husker football game, but also helped our athletic department by purchasing tickets from our allotment."
The Huskers for Heroes tickets were distributed through the Navy in conjunction with their Morale, Welfare and Recreation program. Some tickets were given to military personnel stationed on the USS Princeton, which came into port unexpectedly the day of the game.
With the tickets purchased for military personnel, a total of 8,600 were sold out of Nebraska's 11,000-ticket allotment.
In addition to the tickets purchased through the Huskers for Heroes program, the University of Nebraska Athletic Department also gave 500 tickets to the U.S. Marines, the group that unfurled the large American flag for the National Anthem pregame ceremony.
About two dozen fans that purchased the Huskers for Heroes tickets during the Holiday Bowl Blitz were unable to use their free gift of two tickets to Saturday's Nebraska men's basketball game vs. Iowa State. Those tickets were returned to the NU Athletic Department and have been distributed to local veterans and active duty military personnel in the Lincoln area.
That means that some Husker fans, in effect, were able to give the gift of Husker tickets to military personnel twice - for military in San Diego and in Lincoln.