Devin Funchess honors the mother of a fallen soldier

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  • By Grant Pardee
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Devin Funchess made a promise and kept true to his word.

After scoring his first touchdown during last night's Monday Night Football, the Panthers receiver instructed support staff to make sure the ball was given to Tina Palmer, the mother of a fallen soldier.

Her son, Dillon Baldridge of Youngsville, North Carolina, was a Corporal in the Army's 101st Airborne Division and only 22 years old when he lost his life fighting in Afghanistan.

"I'm two months older than (Dillon)," Funchess said after the game. "His mom said he was the most joyful boy you'd ever meet. It was an honor meeting her. Just five months ago he passed away. It was an honor to get in the end zone for her."

Funchess bonded with the Baldridge family after Sunday's practice when the Carolina Panthers met with families of fallen heroes as part of the NFL's Salute to Service.

"I told Dillon's mom that I was going to get in the end zone for her," Funchess said. "That's what I did. I made sure she got the first touchdown (ball)."

Funchess also wore a helmet decal with Dillon Baldridge's initials in honor of his sacrifice.

"I love playing the game. It's a blessing," said Funchess, who finished with five catches, 92 yards, and two touchdowns. "Hearing (Dillon's) story, you have to be thankful just to be here."

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