If you enjoy stories about love, friendship, loyalty, compassion, courage, determination, good sense, team spirit, celebrity, gratitude, appreciation, and multiple surprise happy endings, you’ll love this story within a story.

A good story always features a intertwining plots and events.

So too with this amazing story.

My son, Brian, who served two tours during the Iraq war, developed a strong friendship with another two-time Iraq war veteran, Chris Uphold.

They were both from Pittsburgh; they both were in the same unit, and, they were both stationed at the same base in Arizona.

Here’s where the first story begins.

Chris had gone through numerous surgeries on his ankle as a result of battle wounds from his two tours in Iraq.

Enter the Pittsburgh Penguins and 84 Lumber.

They ran a contest they called the “Home for a Hero” campaign to give a $50,000 home improvement award to a deserving veteran.

Heather Uphold, nominated her husband. She believed Chris deserved this award for his selfless service to his family, friends, and country.

And, she believed winning such an award would bring about the renovations to their home to help Chris navigate more efficiently and with less pain.

You guessed it. Chris and Heather won the contest.

Chris’s response: “A total shock. This is the last thing I would’ve expected today.”

The Upholds saw this as a chance to modify their master bathroom shower to a walk-in shower to be more mobile and more accessible for Chris. As a result of his military service, he also experienced lung problems. A home filtration system would help him breathe better”

At the appointed time, Phil Bourque, a popular two time Stanley Cup winner with the Penguins, showed up at the Uphold home to present the prize.

Besides the $50,000 home improvement award, Bourque presented Chris with a Penguins jersey, signed by Sidney Crosby.

Check out the video provided by a local TV station.



While all of this was going on, Brian, stationed at Fort Bragg, was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Fortunately, this was the type of Leukemia that could be successfully treated with aggressive chemotherapy.

Brian was half way though his prescribed chemo treatments when the rest of the story unfolds.

Besides the $50,000 home improvement award, Bourque presented Chris with a Penguins jersey, signed by Sidney Crosby.

Excited with his great luck, he immediately said to Bourque, “I’m going to send this jersey to my friend, Brian. He’s a great Penguins fan and he needs a little cheering up with what he’s going through.

Without blinking, Bourque said to Chris, “You keep this one. I’ll send one to Brian as well.”

Of course, at this time, Brian was not aware of Chris’s generosity and Phil Bourque’s response.

The video below shows the Brian opening his surprise from Chris Uphold, Phil Bourque and the Pittsburgh Penguins and his response.