CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In a crowd full of black and blue, Talon Blasjo is about to get the opportunity of a lifetime.
“Who are you going to meet?” Talon’s mothers asks. “Cam Newton!” Blasjo exclaims.
It’s every Panthers fan’s dream, but the journey that brought Talon and his mom Crystal to this point started more like a nightmare.
Crystal asks her five-year-old son why they’re at Bank of America Stadium.
“Because my daddy died,” Talon explains. He said his father was a soldier.
Sergeant Aaron J. Blasjo was killed in action on May 29, 2011 during his third deployment.
“He (Talon) was only eight weeks old when he died. So he doesn't remember much about his dad,” Crystal explains.
That's what days like Sunday are for. As part of the NFL’s Salute to Service Talon and his mom joined the Panthers before the game.
“It means the world to us. Not only us but all military families that sacrifices aren't going unnoticed. That five years later his dad is still being remembered,” Crystal said.
She thought it was a long shot when she reached out to the Panthers to be part of their tribute. Instead of honoring her late-husband with his initials on a helmet like other fallen soldiers, the Panthers offered a little more.
“They said, ‘I need one Salute to Service family. And I need him to do the coin toss. I just burst into tears. I couldn't speak,’” Crystal said.
When the coin toss time came, Talon got a handshake from his favorite player.
It was an opportunity to stand among some of the NFL greats, while honoring the hero who Talon was lucky enough to call his dad.