CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Christian McCaffrey is quick to give his father credit for being the person and the football player he has turned into.
The younger McCaffrey is approaching his fourth season with the Carolina Panthers. The elder McCaffrey, Ed, enjoyed a 13-year pro career, most notably with the Denver Broncos.
The McCaffreys, having such a strong bond, gave a military father and his adopted daughter a special surprise.
Carolina Panthers All-Pro Christian McCaffrey and his dad Ed, a former NFL wideout, teamed up with USAA and the USO of NC to virtually surprise a military family (both dad and daughter are active-duty service members and Panthers fans) for a special Father’s Day celebration in honor of their service.
“To me, Father’s Day is such a special day,” Christian McCaffrey said. “I always wanted to be like my dad.”
McCaffrey shared the conversation on social media.
Gunnery Sergeant Jeremy is based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and his adopted daughter, Senior Airman Ella, is at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia.
“I just want to thank you guys so much for your service,” Christian McCaffrey said. “We really appreciate it. Happy Father’s Day.”
Christian McCaffrey followed in his father’s footsteps by playing in the NFL.
Ed McCaffrey asked Ella when she wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps by joining the military.
“For me, I realized when I turned 18, it was time to be an adult,” Ella said. “We have a really good life as a military family, why not keep it going? It means a lot because my dad adopted me. He chose to take me on.”
According to statistics by the USAA, military service runs in the family – 80 percent of military recruits come from families where at least one family member has served; 25 percent have a parent who has served. In celebration of Father’s Day this year, USAA brought together two fathers who’ve inspired their kids to follow in their footsteps.