CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Clarksville veteran recognized for his service to the country and his community is headed to the Super Bowl.
Tennessee Titans Quarterback Ryan Tannehill tweeted on Monday that he was excited to meet Dustin Maxfield, a 16-year Army veteran.
“From helping homeless veterans, to arranging for service dogs for vets suffering from PTSD and TBI, Army vet Dustin Maxfield continues to serve,” Tannehill tweeted. “Thank you USAA and American Legion for helping me get him two tickets to SBLIV (Super Bowl 54). I look forward to seeing you in Miami.”
The USAA teamed up with numerous NFL players and coaches and veterans service organizations to award Super Bowl trips and tickets to deserving military veterans from across the country. The USAA worked with the American Legion, and identified Maxfield as a worthy recipient.
Maxfield will get a chance to meet Tannehill, and visit the USAA’s Salute to Service Lounge at the Super Bowl. He will also get to attend the NFL Honors and a tailgate before the game on Sunday. He will make the trip with his dad, Rodney, who is a retired Air Force veteran. They will depart on Friday morning.
"It's kind of surreal," said Maxfield. "You know for a lot of people, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We plan on taking advantage of it, that’s for sure."
After serving three tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2017, Maxfield was medically discharged after suffering head, neck and leg injuries during a training operation in 2015. After leaving the military, he has continued to serve his community. He has been active working with the American Legion in Kentucky. In 2018, he founded the non-profit organization, Sheepdog Initiative. It aims to help veterans transitioning from homelessness and raise awareness about veteran suicides and PTSD. The organization also works to buy service animals for veterans suffering for PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
"I’ve lost friends in combat and to suicide, " said Maxfield. "For us, this is something we wholeheartedly believe in."
Sheepdog Initiative also coordinates the "Operation Love Truck" program. It is a mobile pantry that runs bi-weekly to serve homeless members of the community. Members of the community donate clothing, blankets, propane and personal hygiene items to stock the trailer.
The organization also works with the Penny Royal Regional Veterans Center in Hopkinsville.
Maxfield said he hoped Sheepdog Initiative would continue to grow and they could get a permanent office in the future. For now, he is looking forward to the game.
"We’re just grateful and humbled to be there, and have this opportunity."