A firsthand report from the Super Bowl

Richard Mariello and his son Jeremiah at the Super BowlCombine the Harbaugh brothers, Beyonce, and a blackout and you’ve got a Super Bowl to remember. Thanks to our friends at CENTURY 21, 2013 Easter Seals Adult Representative Richard Mariello and his 16-year-old son Jeremiah are one father-and-son team who will never forget their time at this year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans.

In addition to their teenagers, Richard Mariello and his wife Lynn have fostered more than 20 children in the last 12 years. None of them have ever been to an NFL game before, and here’s how Richard and Jeremiah ended up at the biggest game of all this year: Century 21 has been a national sponsor of Easter Seals for over 30 years. They were also a major advertiser during this year’s Super Bowl. They were given a thank you package including tickets, flights and hotel accommodations for the game, and they donated them to our adult representative, Army Specialist and Afghanistan War Veteran Richard Mariello.

For a firsthand idea of what the experience was like, I’ll leave you blog readers with an interview with Richard from the Century 21 blog. Thanks, you guys!

C21: What was your favorite part of being there, live for the game?

RM: Everything! Honestly, I’d have to say the best part was getting the full, behind-the-scenes experience. We watched the players warming up. We got to see the kickers making 60-yard field goals during practice.

When you see the players running on TV, they look fast, but in person they are even faster.

Sitting as close as we were, we could hear the tackles, hear the yelling. We were right in the 49ers’ end zone.

We were also amazed with the half time show crew. They set up Beyonce’s entire set in three minutes and took it down in five minutes. That was really incredible. We really got to see the reality of the whole game experience.

C21: Aside from the game, did you explore New Orleans?

RM: We did. We got in the Friday before the game. On Saturday we spent about four hours at the World War II Museum. We also walked the entire length of Bourbon Street and explored the French Quarter. People in New Orleans are so friendly. They really understand hospitality.

C21: New Orleans is known for their food. Did you sample any of the traditional treats?

RM: We did. It’s hard to pick a favorite. We loved the gumbo, the beignets and the pralines. We also had a great time at a chicken shack where we ordered delicious fried chicken.

C21: Did you visit Café du Monde?

RM: We did! We even brought beignet mix to bring back home to the family.

C21: There were quite a few celebrities in town for the game, did you have any sightings?

RM: We did! My son physically ran into Michael Phelps. Michael was on his way to an interview and literally walked into Jeremiah. We also saw Julie Chen, Hines Ward and the cast of “Duck Dynasty.” Everyone wanted to take pictures with the Duck guys!

C21: Tell us, how long have you been working with Easter Seals?

RM: Since I was deployed in 2011. My family hooked up with Easter Seals right before I left. When I came home in 2012 I spoke at an Easter Seals event and someone wrote an article about my talk. It kind of snowballed from there and now I am the Easter Seals National Adult Representative and Veteran Representative.

C21: What are your responsibilities in this new role?

RM: I travel all over the country to talk about the Easter Seals Veterans Program. In fact, I will be at the CENTURY 21 Global Conference next month in Las Vegas.

I speak about the importance of helping veterans and their families. When our veterans come home sometimes they need help finding a job, or they have stress or anxiety issues and they need to seek support. Easter Seals helps make that happen.

Richard ends the interview saying he accepted the role as the 2013 Easter Seals Adult Representative “for all the veterans who do not have the chance to take a stage and express how necessary these programs are. I am doing this for all of us. Not everyone gets this chance.”


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