Erich Orrick grants wishes for a living.
Yes, really. And no, Orrick not a genie.
But the disabled vet and single father of two from Indianapolis who served in the Army for two decades, now works as a volunteer and board member for Wish For Our Heroes.
Wish For Our Heroes is a nonprofit that grants wishes to active-duty military members who badly need a hand. The charity has helped an Army Staff Sergeant who lost everything due to an apartment fire, assisted a Marine with mounting medical and legal bills, covered expensive car repairs, and given gift cards to military kids for Christmas.
On the Wish For Our Heroes’ website, Orrick says his goal is to “champion the needs of the typical ‘Joe’ in the military who gets the least amount of praise, pay and often needs the most to make ends meet.” He has dedicated his life to helping other military members — running the Indiana branch of the charity out of his garage.
The tables turned on Orrick, however, when professional punter Pat McAfee of the Indianapolis Colts decided that Orrick deserved a wish come true himself — despite not even making one. Through the years, McAfee has supported Wish For Our Heroes by donating football tickets, by giving money and by serving as a volunteer himself.
“That guy is an absolute legend. He’s the most selfless person I’ve ever met in my life,” McAfee told Dana Hunsinger Benbow of The Indianapolis Star.
Along with fellow Colt Coby Fleener, McAfee hatched a plan to lure Orrick away from his house for a weekend meeting in Chicago connected to the nonprofit. And while the meeting was fake, what McAfee and Fleener accomplished while Orrick was away was very real.
They redecorated his home with help from HHGregg, an electronics store — outfitting it with new appliances, television and furniture, and providing organization that any parent of two can use. (Orrick is a single parent to two daughters.) They also donated $5,000 to Wish For Our Heroes.
“I hate being in the center of all of this,” Orrick said. “I feel very guilty to have gotten so much when there are guys that need it more than I do.”
Orrick, selfless to a fault, told ABC News, who also covered the story, “I don’t want you to miss the story here, that there are a lot of soldiers who really need help.”