ANSBACH, Germany (November 4, 2022) – On 3 November on Katterbach Kaserne, The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) interviewed United States Army Garrison (USAG) Ansbach United Service Organizations (USO) center manager Kimberley “Ley” Steadman about her part in bringing back Pat Tillman's jersey to the United States from the USO Pat Tillman Center at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan.
The crew came to Germany from the U.S. specifically for the special that will be telling the story of Pat Tillman's jersey and its journey back home from Afghanistan.
Steadman has served with the USO for four and a half years and in support of the troops since 2018.
She is responsible for all aspects of operations at the USO center at USAG Ansbach in Germany, including the daily supervision of more than 35 volunteers.
"I was with the United States Peace Corps before working for the USO, and I just knew I wanted to be somewhere where I could work with soldiers," said Steadman about what motivated her to join the USO. "While that jersey was on display at the Pat Tillman Center you could feel the sense of service and sacrifice that he believed in and was committed to."
While the U.S. was in the middle of the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan Steadman did everything that she could to make sure the jersey along with other mementos were secure and transported back home.
Steadman and other USO staff packed and secured Pat Tillman's jersey along with other memorabilia in a bag to transport back to the U.S., while also carrying a second bag with all of her personal belongings.
"As we were waiting in line to weigh our bags before the flight one of the officials came over and said that we could not take two bags and that I would have to leave one," she said. "I didn't have to think twice about it, I dropped my bag on the curb, called one of our volunteers and asked him to mail it out if he could and if not to leave it."
It's an important story to tell, to showcase what the jersey means to so many people at the USO and so many people in the Armed Forces," said Joshua Vorenski, Feature Producer for ESPN. "When I first heard about the story I had to find out more and make sure others knew about it."
"He (Pat Tillman) answered his inner calling instead of taking the easy way out," said Harry Hawkings, associate producer II for ESPN. "For someone to give up millions of dollars and a life in the National Football League (NFL) to serve in the military is beyond comprehension to me."
"'What can the NFL do for you?' is what the NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue asked me," said, Carly Harris, USO area four director, recounting the story of when the NFL committed $250,000 to the USO Center at Bagram Airbase. "I said what about a USO Center in Afghanistan in honor of Pat Tilman?"
Following the NFL's donation to the USO in 2004, the Pat Tillman USO Center opened in April of 2005 and was the first and last USO center in Afghanistan, where Pat Tillman's Jersey remained until May of 2021.
After the interviews concluded Lt. Col. Miguel Cisneros one of the USO volunteers at the USO Center in Ansbach was recognized as the USO Area 4 volunteer of the year and will be in contention for USO volunteer of the year for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
Cisneros was a key player in getting a USO Center in Ansbach and helped coordinate logistics for the ESPN interview.
"The other thing that makes today special is that the area four volunteer of the year was selected, and he's from right here, USAG Ansbach," said Harris.
"It's a privilege to be recognized as a volunteer, the USO does this all the time, they really take care of their volunteers," said Cisneros about being recognized for his work at USAG Ansbach. "Thank you for acknowledging the fact that we volunteer our time to serve others, especially soldiers and their families through the USO."
The Pat Tillman ESPN feature will air on 13 November on Sunday NFL Countdown.