ORLANDO, FL--(Marketwired - November 14, 2016) - Sonja Bentley is in the very early stages of getting her life back together.
Tragedy struck nearly two weeks ago when a fire left her homeless.
While the recovery process won't be easy, Bentley's military past gives her inspiration. She knows the fortitude it takes to overcome life's challenges.
An automated logistical and mechanical supply specialist in the U.S. Army for many years, Bentley was honored for her service during Seats for Soldiers Night presented by Harris Corporation at the Orlando Magic's game against the Utah Jazz on Friday. She, along with about 2,000 other active and retired military personnel and their families, received a standing ovation from the crowd. They also participated in various festivities throughout the night.
On top of her heroism to protect the country, Bentley says the Magic's gratitude and warmth is extremely motivating as she works toward getting back on her feet.
"I am so appreciative of everything everybody has done for me," she said. "I'm speechless."
"I'm so thankful that they (Magic) picked me to honor. This right here tells me to never give up and strive harder to do better and look to the stars."
It was the 13th straight year the Magic held Seats for Soldiers Night presented by Harris Corporation. A military-themed Fan Fest preceded the game and a postgame reception for more than 75 preselected active and retired soldiers followed it with Magic players attending the reception after the game. Seats for Soldiers also provided game tickets for more than 2,000 active and retired military personnel and their families courtesy of the Magic, Harris Corporation and season ticket holders who donated their seats for the occasion.
In addition, this past Thursday, Magic forward Jeff Green participated in a Hoops for Troops care-packing event to help homeless military veterans. He joined more than a dozen armed forces to package hygiene items such as toothpaste and soap that will be delivered to those in need.
Green listened to stories from veterans about some of their incredible experiences and was shown a military vehicle and how it's used during combat.
"For me, it's learning the everyday things these guys go through to protect us and save lives," Green said. "It's learning, appreciating everything that they do and also gaining knowledge."
Hoops for Troops is a year-round initiative led by the NBA, its teams and players in collaboration with the Department of Defense, USO and other military and veteran serving organizations to honor active and retired service men and women and their families leading up to Veterans Day. Throughout this past week, the league and its teams worked side-by-side with the military to participate in various service projects across the U.S. to support local communities.
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