America Supports You: Padres Salute Troops During Fleet Week
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2007 The San Diego Padres Major League Baseball team kicked off Fleet Week San Diego 2007 with a game honoring members of the city’s military community.
San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy (center) relaxes Sept. 17, 2007, with six Marines wounded in Iraq who are recovering at Naval Medical Center San Diego. Bank of America, an official sponsor of Fleet Week San Diego 2007, arranged the meeting as part of the festivities. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“The Padres understand and have great respect for what our dedicated men and women in uniform do for our country day in and day out,” said Jack Ensch, a retired Navy captain and the team’s director of military marketing. “Recognizing our wounded warriors and military families at a venue of America’s pastime is a tangible way we that can show our appreciation for their service and the sacrifices they endure in order to serve their country.
“At the Padres, we believe that there is nothing more American than service to one’s country and baseball,” he added.
As further proof of the team’s belief, six wounded Marines recovering at Naval Medical Center San Diego were treated to batting practice and a “meet and greet” with some of the Padres’ players at the Sept. 17 game. The Marines, hosted by Bank of America, an official sponsor of Fleet Week festivities, also were honored on the field during a pre-game ceremony.
“Bank of America is proud to have hosted the wounded Marines from Balboa naval hospital at Monday night’s game,” said Jolene Davidson, Bank of America’s premiere market manager for South San Diego. “Just being able to see the smiles on their faces as they stood on the field made it all worthwhile. They are truly American heroes.”
The bank also donated 3,000 tickets to San Diego servicemembers for the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Marine Maj. Gen. Terry Robling, commander of 3rd Marine Air Wing at Miramar Air Station, threw out the ceremonial first pitch as his unit’s band played the Marine Hymn and the national anthem.
The Padres, which became corporate supporters of the Defense Department’s America Supports You program on July 4, got Fleet Week off to a good start with a 3-0 win over the Pirates.
America Supports You connects citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.
This year’s Fleet Week San Diego activities will continue through Oct. 27 with events for servicemembers and their families in and around the San Diego area. Fleet Week San Diego was created to honor San Diego’s military servicemembers.