The initial sighting of Captain Dee-Fense coincided with arrival of the Baltimore Ravens.
I was born out of a question a little girl asked me at a game: "Are you the captain of the defense?"
I've always had a heartfelt belief that defense wins championships. And as a 24-year Navy veteran and cancer survivor, I know all too well the importance of a good defense.
To be successful in life; you have to have your priorities in order. Mine has always been faith, family and Ravens football.
One of my favorite memories was meeting Ray Lewis for the first time.
At Memorial Stadium, they had a day when fans could pick their seat. Players were lined around the field and this player wearing No. 52 happened to be near my section. I didn't know much about him, so I asked the question, "Are you any good?" He said, "I can hold my own."
What a dumb question and understatement that turned out to be.
Watching Ray's growth, and the growth of the 2000 defense (one of the best of all-time), was fun. In his earlier years, Ray would shoot the wrong gap, but he was going full speed. He had the physical ability, but when he grasped the mental part and became a "student of the game" was when his career soared.
Some players are content with being average, but I always felt Ray demanded more of himself than his teammates could ever expect. That's leadership. It was fun to get a front-row seat to watch one of the greatest players and future Hall of Famers.
But I believe being a fan is about more. God has blessed me with a gift, and, along with the greatest fans, has put me in this position. I would not be the person I am without the great support of Raven fans. I learned a long time ago, players come and go, but the fans are the constant.
The fans give me my relevance, not the other way around. They also have helped me gain a bigger platform and opportunity to make a positive impact in our community. Bettering the community and changing lives was always my destiny.
I believe that when my earthly work is done, someone will ask me, "What did you do for somebody else?" My life will not be measured in Instagram, Twitter or Facebook followers, or by how many times I'm on the RavensVision boards. It will be on how many lives I impacted positively.
I've been called to visit a* *terminally-ill grandmother and a 9-year-old girl in the hospital. I held a fundraiser for a child's wheelchair. I've sang with residents at an Adult Day Care Center and been a guest speaker at graduations and youth and adult groups. I've spoken at bullying assemblies, read to kids and visited a school for children with autism. I've helped at the Humane Society. These have given my greatest joy and satisfaction because they impact others.
For this and more, I received the Maryland Governor's Citation for Community Service. But every award couldn't have been achieved without the fans' support. I wish I could thank them all personally.
Wes Henson, a.k.a. Captain Dee-Fense