Magic honor veteran

Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins, Ellyn Stern-Rivkees from Chase and Jennifer Rhodes from Operation Homefront honored Army Sergeant First Class Paul Hiltibidal, his wife Lindsey and children Jilyanne (age 8), Lexi (age 3), Gabe (age 2) and Illyana (6 months) during the Magic’s “Big Give” at halftime of the Magic vs. Jazz contest on December 23.

The Orlando Magic took advantage of the 2012 NBA Cares Season of Giving by teaming up with Chase and Operation Homefront to surprise a veteran and his family. During the December 23rd match-up versus the Jazz, Army Sergeant First Class Paul Hiltibidal, his wife Lindsey and their four children were given court-side seats and invited to be part of the “Magic family” for the night.

During the special on-court presentation, Operation Homefront presented the Hiltibidal family with keys to their new mortgage-free home provided by Chase, which they visited earlier this week . The Orlando Magic then surprised the family with a $2,500 check to help them furnish their new home and provide holiday gifts for the children. In addition, Papa John’s announced they will provide the Hiltibidal family with pizza for an entire year and Disney surprised them with 1-Day Magic Your Way Tickets with Park Hopper® option.

“It’s a privilege to be part of this special celebration honoring Paul and his family,” said Magic CEO Alex Martins. “The holidays are a time for family and giving back and the Magic is thrilled to recognize one local family for our fifth consecutive “Big Give.”’ Ellyn Stern-Rivkees from Chase and Jennifer Rhodes from Operation Homefront joined Martins on-court for the presentation. Chase and Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit, have partnered together to provide homes to veterans and their families.

When visiting their new home earlier in the week, the Hiltibidal family was surprised to see the Magic Dancers and STUFF the Magic Mascot in the house as well.

“Paul and his family sacrificed a great deal for us and providing them with a place to call home is one way we can help them build a solid foundation for the future,” said Mike Dosal, Chase market manager, and representatives from Operation Homefront.

“This new home will help me and my family make a fresh start,” said Hiltibidal. “My wife and I will now be able to plan for the future and provide for our kids. This is the best present any of us could have hoped for.”
Hiltibidal spent 12 years in the military serving in countries around the world. While fighting in Afghanistan, Hiltibidal was injured and retired from the Army earlier this year. He and his family are excited to move into their new home in Kissimmee, Florida.

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