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Super Bowl champions, young fans take center stage

Event part of team’s military appreciation tour

The 12th Man turned out in force Thursday evening at Fairchild Air Force Base for a visit from the Super Bowl champions and the Lombardi Trophy.

Seattle Seahawks players Ricardo Lockette and DeShawn Shead came to the base as part of the team’s “Heroes of 12” military appreciation tour, accompanied by several Sea Gals cheerleaders, the Blue Thunder drum corps and Taima the Hawk.

The crowd, wearing a mix of military uniforms and Seahawks jerseys, packed into Miller Park to hear the players speak and answer a few questions. One man asked about Lockette’s catch during the Super Bowl game when he got up from the turf, brushed himself off and pretended to pick up a suitcase and walk off.

“I just treated it like a regular day at the office,” Lockette said. “I just caught it.”

Nine-year-old Taylor Gilstrap was invited on stage to ask her question. She briefly buried her face in her hands as the players reassured her.

She worked up the courage to ask what LOB means. The chanted acronym refers to the team’s “Legion of Boom” – the safeties and cornerbacks. Lockette let her try on his Super Bowl ring and she held her hand up in the air proudly, to the cheers of the crowd.

Once off the stage Gilstrap was still nervous. “I was just really surprised they picked me,” she said.

Her favorite player is Russell Wilson, but she enjoyed her visit with Lockette and Shead.

“They were really awesome,” she said. “I got to wear his ring.”

Scott Leyde came to the event prepared. He searched four stores before buying a giant framed photo of the team playing on CenturyLink Field in Seattle. He hoped to get it autographed during the event. “These are my boys,” he said.

Leyde and his entire extended family, even his 8-month-old granddaughter, Ava, wore Seahawks jerseys. Despite the picture, Leyde said he’s never been to a Seahawks home game. “It’s definitely on my bucket list,” he said.

Andrea Perusich posed for a picture with Taima the Hawk and falconer David Knutson while holding her 3-month-old daughter, Kyla. When asked to rate her support of the Seahawks on a scale of 1 to 10, she hedged a bit. “Eleven or 12 or 20,” she said. “We’re from here so we’re pretty big fans.”

Her husband, Kevin Perusich, wasn’t wearing his Seahawks jersey because he was in uniform. He’s stationed at Fairchild and the entire family are fans of the team. “She was born on Marshawn Lynch’s birthday,” he said, referring to his infant daughter.

No, her middle name is not Marshawn or Lynch. Even a diehard fan has to draw the line somewhere, but Perusich confessed he did consider it briefly.

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