When Erich Orrick came home from the Army after 12 years of service, he made it his mission to help other soldiers who were coming home too.
But what Orrick, 44, the father of two girls, did not know was that his community had become well aware of all his good deeds — and so had the Indianapolis Colts’ Pat McAfee, who’d met Orrick through Orrick’s charity organization.
“He’s the most selfless person I’ve ever met in my life,” McAfee said in an interview with the IndyStar.
Orrick, a retired veteran and Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient, started Wish for Our Heroes in 2009, helping service members move, get new appliances, even assist with their childcare. The charity group has given more than $10 million in donations.
McAfee and fellow Colts player Colby Fleener recently were able to turn the tables on Orrick and give him quite the surprise of a lifetime. McAfee, a supporter of Wish for Our Heroes, and Fleener got the wheels in motion to treat Orrick and his family to a home makeover.
“We had to think of an elaborate plan to get Erich out of his house and then to stay out of his house for a few days,” McAfee said.
So Fleener and McAfee orchestrated a road trip to Chicago and sent Orrick and his daughters there to help with a weekend charity event.
While the trio were gone, their home, just outside of Indianapolis, was outfitted with new furniture and kitchen appliances. Orrick’s daughters got a new place to do their homework and Orrick received a new “man cave,” including a new TV.
When Orrick arrived home to the surprise, he was nearly speechless.
“I’m completely spellbound. It’s amazing,” he said. “My life has been focused on helping other people. … It was a very humbling experience, being the person that was being helped. But I don’t want people to miss the story here, that there’s a lot of troops out there that really need help.”