Cardinal Caravan visits Fort Knox

The University of Louisville's annual Cardinal Caravan made an unpublicized stop in Fort Knox on Tuesday morning. Cardinal Authority was on the military base and has this report:

The University of Louisville's Cardinal Caravan made an unpublicized stop in Fort Knox on Tuesday morning and the response was much more than expected.

The event began at 9:30 and upon arrival a line of military personnel and family members had already stretched through the Exchange and back outside, wrapping around to the front of the building. Scheduled for an hour, the turnout was so large that not everyone was able to reach the front to meet the Cardinal coaches and selected student-athletes.

Basketball coaches Rick Pitino and Jeff Walz, along with Stephan Van Treese, Wayne Blackshear, Sara Hammond and Cortnee Walton spent the time signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.

"It's really cool," Van Treese said of the turnout. "It's crazy because I didn't realize that everybody is still celebrating and I'm trying to get back in basketball mode."

Prior to visiting with the fans, the coaches and players drove around the base, touring facilities and learning more about the military on Fort Knox.

"It's been a great," said Walz. "It's been an educational trip for us and our players. It's really exciting to learn what is going on here. I just want to say thank you to them for all the hard work that they do for us. They put themselves in harms way and that says a lot about them. We really appreciate all that they do."

The most unique item to be signed was an artificial leg.

Randy Pitcher, a father of a soldier, Joshua Pitcher, that lost part of his leg while on duty in Afghanistan came to have a few items signed for his son, who recently returned to the US and is currently stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The father compared his son's struggle to that of Kevin Ware and how both refused to allow a difficult moment hinder them from succeeding in life.

"We have something in common with the Cards in Kevin Ware," said Pitcher. "Going through a tragedy and making something positive out of it and going on with your life. Just because something bad happens doesn't mean that it has to be that way forever."

The items he had signed will be a Father's Day gift to his son.

Before departing Rick Pitino shared a few words with the large crowd.

"Our military is really what our country is all about and we have our freedom today because of our military," Pitino told the crowd. "This is a big treat for us to be in Fort Knox."

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