News: Salute to Armed Forces day recognizes JBLM Soldier
Story by Sgt. Jacqueline Fennell
SEATTLE - Not everybody has the privilege of throwing the first pitch on a day that honors the men and women who serve our great nation. Spectators and fans of the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox gathered, on game day April 21, to pay tribute during the 11th Annual Seattle Mariners and Boeing Salute to Armed Forces Day at Safeco Stadium.
The Joint Forces Color Guard held the colors for hundreds who attended in order to honor those who have fallen while spectators bowed their heads during the playing of Taps prior to the pre-game ceremony.
Regardless of age, nationality, religion or team affiliation, a moment of silence was given in respect for service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
One member from each of the armed forces represented their branch of service by throwing the ceremonial first pitches.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) Soldier of the Year, Sgt. Steven Capen, a health care non-commissioned officer with the 575th Area Support Medical Company, 62nd Medical Brigade was chosen to represent the Army.
“I saw the crowd and I was taking in the moment and experiencing as much as I could,” said Capen. “My mother’s birthday was yesterday so I told her, I’m throwing it for you mom. It was amazing and one of the best experiences in my life,”
Capen expressed his humble spirit about how honored he was to represent soldiers at Safeco Stadium and said, “It’s really not about me. I’m just trying to do my best and serve those I work for, which are my soldiers.”
Capen added that he wants to look back and say he helped his soldiers accomplish their goals.
In addition to thinking about his soldiers instead of himself, Capen graciously accepted an anonymous request from a deployed soldier in Afghanistan, to have a baseball signed by one of the players.
Following the signing of the ball, Capen relaxed by changing out of his Army Service Uniform and into something more comfortable so he could enjoy himself and watch the game. Little did he know, he would witness the 21st perfect game thrown in Major League Baseball history.
Starting pitcher, Philip Humber, of the Chicago White Sox, threw a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners.
The service members who were recognized during the Salute to Armed Forces Day said they appreciated the chance to be at the game.
“It’s a great honor and it feels good to be able to represent Boeing employees and the military as well,” said Staff Sgt. Richard Walters, who is in the Army Reserves assigned to the 493rd Military Policy Company on JBLM.
Walters works as an explosive detection dog handler at the Boeing Company and was selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game.
The Boeing Company partnered with the Seattle Mariners in order to help sponsor the tribute given to those in uniform making it possible for service members like Capen to attend the game.
A perfect day at the ball park ended with a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox. Grateful Americans gave thanks to those who serve their country while witnessing a historical event in baseball history.