PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Attending the Army-Navy game is a tradition for many military families. One rather large family of nearly 30 made the trip from Maryland to see the game for the very first time on Saturday.
“We have about 12 pounds of bacon, 80 hamburgers, five dozen eggs,” Mike Williams said.
Enough food to feed an army — or in this case, the Navy.
“It’s all about giving back to the community and trying to make a difference. Pay things forward so people will continue to do good — and we love kids,” Karen Williams said. “So this has just sort of turned into our local mission.”
Williams and her husband, Mike Williams, brought their massive family of Mids to Philly.
Their son Sean Williams was in the 7th Special Forces Group. He died four years ago after a heart attack.
The couple from Maryland began sponsoring Midshipmen shorty after.
“We wanted to do it for a long time. We thought it was in the ‘too hard’ pile,” Mike Williams said. “It’s actually not. When we went to sponsor for the first time, we were going to do one. But they were lacking 700 kids to have sponsors so we picked up three. Now we have 22.”
Every Saturday, the Williams open their home to nearly 30 Midshipmen and their friends who cannot get to theirs — allowing future leaders to let off a little steam.
“We get over there on Saturday around noon and we’re there until Sunday at 5 o’clock,” sophomore Joe Dougherty said. “We just sit on the couch, hang out and just kind of de-stress from the academy and eat a ton of food. They’re saints. It’s crazy. It’s thankless. They never ask for anything in return.”
When there was a gap in tailgate leadership for this year’s Army-Navy game, Karen Williams and her crew stepped up.
They’ve been sponsoring for three years, but Saturday was the first time her Mids made it to Philly.
“Mike and Karen have been amazing to us. It feels like another family,” Joe Walton said.
The Williams have three children, all in the military — the Army, Air Force and Navy.
“I feel like we get back far more than I give to them,” Karen Williams said. “It’s great.”