In her day job, Natalie Greene is used to toiling in anonymity. As a system administrator and clinical software trainer, Greene is Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton’s cyber guru in charge of Anasazi, the electronic healthcare records for our behavioral health clients.
So it was a surprise when friends as far away as Florida began calling her last month, starstruck. “I saw you on TV!” she heard, over and over again.
Turns out, USAA – a Texas-based financial services group that serves active and retired military – made a commercial at an “NFL Salute to Service Boot Camp” that Greene had attended in September in Burlington County. The videographer caught Greene, a military veteran, midstride after emerging from a football huddle – and a star was born.
Accidental TV star
“I was like oh my God, was that for real?” Greene said, after seeing the commercial while watching a Thursday night Eagles game. “It’s airing nationwide. I guess I’m a celebrity now!”
Greene, of Willingboro, has worked at Catholic Charities since March 2001. Her military roots go much further back: She enlisted in the Army Reserves at age 18 and has since served in the Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserves. She served nearly 24 years in the military, including stints at the Rhein-Main and Ramstein air bases in Germany and Riyadh and Dhahran in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War.
Most recently, she served as an aeromedical evaluation technician with the 72nd and 714th AES out of McGuire Air Force Base, before retiring in 2003 from active service. She frequently participates in events organized by the Wounded Warrior Project, for veterans and service members injured physically or mentally while serving, and that’s how she connected with the Burlington County boot camp.
Besides her full-time work with Catholic Charities and her Wounded Warrior excursions, Greene keeps plenty busy in her spare time.
In the past, she volunteered as an emergency medical technician and captain with the Willingboro Emergency Medical Squad and Lumberton Emergency Medical Squad. She now volunteers with the Mount Laurel Emergency Medical Squad as a non-rider EMT and quartermaster. Greene is a National Registry EMT and also serves as a New Jersey Notary Public, a Notary Certified Signing Agent, Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Systems women’s basic instructor, and an instructor for the NRA’s Refuse to Be a Victim (RTBAV) program.
The event that landed her in a national TV commercial drew former Eagles stars Brian Dawkins and Garry Cobb, along with a few Eagles cheerleaders and Swoop, the Eagles mascot. Greene and other veterans split up into teams and ran through different football drills like a real football player, from hurling a football to leaping obstacles to running sprints.
Fielding a pass from ‘Weapon X’
Greene got to swap conversations with Dawkins, a former safety who played 16 seasons in the NFL, including 13 with the Eagles.
Greene thought she did better at throwing the ball down the field, hitting the mark around 25 feet.
“Not bad for my age,” she said. “I figured that was pretty good, considering I haven’t played since flag football in college,” Greene said.
But then Dawkins got the ball. “He threw it almost 60 yards!” said Greene, who snagged a photo with him (in white cap in photo at left) and her friends Sean (left) and Marvin (right) afterward.
Greene felt that considering there was only one other female participant doing the Combine Drills, she did very well.
“It was a golden opportunity to be selected to participate in the activity and an honor to be there,” she said. “Who knew that out of all the photos and videos they took that day, the one they picked to show on national TV would be of me?!”
A legend who appreciates the military
Greene said she’s a devout Eagles fan, even though she doesn’t have a favorite player.
That might change, now that she’s met Dawkins.
“It’s not, like, sinking in that I got to play football with Brian Dawkins. I mean, he’s a legend,” she said. “He was a really cool, down to earth person, who really appreciated being out there with the military.”
For more information, contact Dana DiFilippo, communications, at (609) 394-5181, ext. 1153.
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