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March 22, 2018Philadelphia, PAUnited StatesOperational

ICE ERO Philadelphia MSS flying high after Eagles Super Bowl win

When the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, the entire city rejoiced. After all, it was the franchise’s first Super Bowl title, signaling the end of years of frustration and disappointment fans have endured in pursuit of an elusive championship.

Generations of Eagles fans in the City of Brotherly Love and across the country have been celebrating the Super Bowl victory ever since. For one fan in particular, the win has been especially gratifying.

Marino “Rena” Brown was born and raised in Philadelphia. Growing up, she wasn’t into football at all, much less the Eagles. She only knew what her brother would tell her about the team and game in general. It wasn’t until she was in her 20s and 30s, that she really starting following the sport and rooting for her home team.

Brown, a Mission Support Specialist with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Philadelphia field office has more than 30 years of federal government experience dating back to the U. S. Civil Service Commission, now known as the Office of Personnel Management.  However, while working for the U.S. Census in 2010, a lapse in funding left Brown without a job.

“I was out of work for about 16 months from 2010-2011. I didn’t get back in the government until 2012 [with HSI],” Brown said. “I submitted more than 80 job applications. At the time, I had almost 30 years in the government. I could’ve retired, but financially I wasn’t able to do that.”

In the meantime, to have some additional income coming in, Brown began working as a seasonal part-time employee at Lincoln Financial Field, working all Eagles home games and other events held at the facility. 

For the past eight seasons, Brown has been a constant presence throughout the year, working in a premium club and various other locations in the stadium. She’s had perfect attendance every year, winning three MVP awards for going above and beyond what the job calls for.

“It costs a lot to come out to a game. You bring your family and you want to snack and eat,” Brown said. “In the course of that, I try to make sure I make all guests feel like they’re sitting home in their living room watching the game. I tell them all the fun things that are going on in our club.”

When Brown’s on duty, it’s all about customer service and team efforts. She make sure that fans who are at the stadium for the first time visit the concierge’s desk to get a first timer’s certificate and badge. When former Eagles players are signing autographs, Brown alerts fans to where they should to go to meet some of their heroes.

The spirit of working at Lincoln Financial Field is infectious. According to Brown, it’s one big party where she’s able to have fun while getting paid. Over the years, Brown has become a familiar face in the stadium, befriending many Eagles players and their families along the way. She enjoys the interactions with the fans, and yes, even the opposing teams. 

“I was once posted by the door where all the coaches and players came through,” Brown said. “We had to hold the doors for them and I started a chant ‘heads up, gladiators coming through!’ One of the visiting coaches said ‘we have never been welcomed that way’ and I said ‘well you’re in the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, so welcome.’”

Brown just wants everyone to be happy, whether at Lincoln Financial Field, or back at ERO Philadelphia headquarters. Working in the premium club, she has access to all the game programs that are handed out to fans at every game. After the games, there are many left over and employees are encouraged to take as many with them as they can.

“I always take a stack and bring them to the office and give them to the fellas,” Brown said. “I know some of them work undercover and surveillance and they don’t get a chance to go to the games. They can’t enjoy it the way I do.”

This season was magical for the Eagles and their staff. For all the years Brown came to work and the season ended in disappointment, she remained hopeful. That’s what made this Super Bowl season special. Win or lose, she was behind them no matter what. While Brown didn’t play a down on the field, the spirit she carried in her role every Sunday helped make the franchise a champion. 

“I couldn’t wait to get my Super Bowl shirt and hat. The spirit of the city has been just so warm and kind and friendly,” Brown said. “I didn’t see any way they would lose. Everything was positive. I never doubted for a second.”

Updated: 10/16/2018