When Rob Davis and Abdul Hodge were asked to speak at the Wisconsin's National Guard Challenge Academy in Fort McCoy, Wis., they felt comfortable speaking to cadets about their own life experiences while motivating cadets to make the most of their future.
However, the players did not feel as comfortable with the transportation that was provided to Fort McCoy.
Davis and Hodge traveled to and from the Academy via Black Hawk Helicopter on Tuesday, Oct. 31, and expressed concerns from the moment they stepped foot into Austin Straubel Airport.
"This might be the craziest thing I've ever done," Davis said as he greeted the pilots, "I'm just letting you know I have two women expecting me home this afternoon."
After suppressing flying nerves and arriving at Fort McCoy, Davis and Hodge were first briefed about the Academy's purpose, ate lunch with cadets, got a tour of the facilities, and then answered many questions the cadets had about their own life experiences.
"To be able to speak to the cadets, interact with them, give words of encouragement, and share some knowledge on how I have dealt with situations was great," said Hodge, who shared life lessons he learned while growing up in Florida.
Davis, who has previously counseled juvenile delinquents, spoke at a Commencement Ceremony for Cadets in 2004 and firmly believes in the mission of the Academy.
"I think what the Challenge Academy is doing with these kids is tremendous," Davis said. "They're trying to help them before it gets too late."
After finishing the question and answer session, Davis and Hodge continued interacting with cadets by signing autographs and offering more words of encouragement as the cadets went back to their daily routine.
It was evident that the words shared by both players went a long way to helping cadets build on the positive experience they have already encountered at the Academy.