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Our Heroes

Our Heroes

The Royals and Budweiser salute a member of the military at games throughout the 2016 season.

Active duty and retired members of the United States Armed Forces are provided with complimentary tickets in the Budweiser seats on the first base side and recognized with a special in-game tribute.

2016 Honorees:

Sunday, April 3 - Robert Dye

Specialist Robert Dye served in the United States Army as a heavy truck driver during the VietNam war. While driving a convoy, Specialist Dye and his comrades were ambushed by heavy fire. Though shot in both legs, he continued to drive through the ambush and summoned aid for his comrades. For his heroism, Specialist Dye was awarded the Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal with V Device.

Tuesday, April 5 - ReGina Davis

Major ReGina Davis served ten years as an enlisted soldier then became an Army Nurse Corp Officer as a critical care nurse. Serving as a communication specialist with the 410th Evacuation hospital in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm, she later served two tours as a clinical head nurse in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Currently Major Davis serves in the Army Reserves with the 5502 United States Army Hospital and works as a Nurse Manager at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

Friday, April 8 - Franklin Felitsky

Master Sergeant Franklin Felitsky served in the United States Air Force as an avionics mechanic for twenty years. A combat helicopter gunman during the Korean and Vietnam wars, he spent his twenty years of service between the Tactical Air Command Headquarters at Forbes Air Force Base in Topeka and with the Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Offut Air Force Base in Omaha.

Highly decorated, Master Sergeant Felitsky was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic and meritorious service during the Vietnam War in 1969.

Saturday, April 9 - Angelique Dilmore

Specialist Angelique Dilmore served in the United States Army for four years as a combat medic. Deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006, she served as a troop medical clinic in a trauma room treating hundreds of wounded soldiers. For her actions in saving the lives of many soldiers during battle, she received the Army Commendation Medal and numerous other achievement awards.

Currently the Kansas Citian works for the government overseeing construction on federal buildings and plays Rugby for the Kansas City Jazz women's rugby team.

Sunday, April 10 - Donald Deaver

Carpenter's Mate Third Class Donald Deaver served in the United States Navy from 1945 to 1946. The veteran served in the South Pacific and Okinawa during World War 2 and received the Good Conduct Medal and South Pacific Medal.

Currently, Carpenter's Mate Deaver is a seventy-year member of the King City, Missouri American Legion post 132 and is the current commander of the King City Military Funeral Honor Guard.

Tuesday, April 19 - Robert Payeur

Captain Robert Payeur joined the United States Army in 2001 right after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Serving six years in the Army Reserves, in 2004 and 2005 he served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a squad leader, combat lifesaver, and unit armorer.

Now in the Missouri Air National Guard, the Army Commendation Medal recipient is an Aircraft Maintenance Officer and commander of the 139th Maintenance Operations Flight and plans to continue to serve as along as he possibly can.

Wednesday, April 20 - Bruce Fischbach

Staff Sergeant Bruce Fischbach served in the Army as a military policeman with many assignments including a tour with the 101st Airborne Division and 101st Military Police Company. In the late '80's, he also served with the prestigious Berlin Brigade as a member of the 287th Military Police Company, providing security to President Reagan and US and foreign dignitaries, and was in Berlin during the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Highly decorated, Staff Sergeant Fischbach still works with veterans and was the Kansas State Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Thursday, April 21 - James Scott

Specialist James Scott has served in the United States Army for twenty-four years. The third generation combat veteran has served in multiple specialties including clerk, combat engineer, and truck driver. While deployed to Iraq, he was a driver for a convoy security team in which he safely drove more than 10,000 miles in a year and took on small arms fire when their team was ambushed, earning him an Army Achievement Medal and a Combat Action Badge.

Friday, April 22 - Jarrod Williams

Master Sergeant Jarrod Williams served in the United States Air Force in Aircraft Maintenance and Special Mission Aircraft. Deployed multiple times and stationed all over the world, he has had many duties including flying on the highly modified 747 "Nightwatch," supporting the President, Secretaries of Defense, and Joint Chiefs of Staff. Master Sergeant Williams also performed the first ever combat aircraft crash recovery procedure in military history when he deployed to Iraq to recover a crashed C-130 aircraft.

On April 1, the decorated veteran retired after 20 years of service.

Saturday, April 23 - Joseph Hoobery

Captain Joseph Hoobery joined the Army Air Corps 2 when he was 18 and served from 1942 to 1945. Stationed in Guadal Canal, he was trained as a B-24 bomber pilot, leading a crew of ten men as they flew several hundred bombing missions throughout World War 2. During one mission in the Pacific, their plane went down in shark infested waters, but he and the crew were able to swim to safety.

When Captain Hoobery returned home, he married his sweetheart Joyce and had many children and grandchildren and served in their church.

Sunday, April 24 - Javier Batista

Sargent Javier Batista has served in the United States Army for four and a half years. A Senior Vehicle Operator, he oversees and assists in operation of vehicles over varied terrain in support of garrison and combat operations. Deployed twice, the decorated veteran has served in support of Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait as a member of the quick reaction force, and in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq.

Monday, May 2 - Jarrod Wilson

Sergeant Jarrod Wilson has served in the United States Army since 2006. A combat medic, he has been deployed twice, first to South Korea and then fifteen months in Afghanistan where he worked at an International Combat Support Hospital giving critical care to soldiers coming off the battlefield. While there, he was also selected to be the Senior Medic for President George W. Bush's final overseas visit.

Currently, Sergeant Wilson serves in the Army Reserves as well as working full-time as a fireman for the Grandview Fire Department.

Tuesday, May 3 - Erik Petersen

Sergeant Erik Petersen has served sixteen years in the Missouri Army National Guard. Specializing as a combat medic, he deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 where he completed over 200 missions as a member of a Security Force Team protecting the 935th ADT Team.

The Army Commendation Medal recipient is currently serving active duty as a Battalion Medical Readiness NCO for the 1-138th Infantry Regiment.

Wednesday, May 4 - Joshua Miller

Specialist Joshua Miller served in the United States Army from 2007-2009. A Chaplain Assistant, he was stationed at Miesau Army Depot in Germany. During his service there, they conducted hospital visits to wounded soldiers, organized family readiness and relationship building retreats, and provided chapel and counseling services to soldiers.

Wednesday, May 4 - Joshua Miller

Specialist Joshua Miller served in the United States Army from 2007-2009. A Chaplain Assistant, he was stationed at Miesau Army Depot in Germany. During his service there, they conducted hospital visits to wounded soldiers, organized family readiness and relationship building retreats, and provided chapel and counseling services to soldiers.

Friday, May 13 - Rhonda Johnson

Staff Sergeant Rhonda Johnson served in the United States Army specializing in Human Resources, Dental Technician, Heating and Cooling Specialist, and Dietary Specialist. Deployed twice, the decorated veteran served in Operation Enduring Freedom at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom at Al Asad Iraq.

Recently retired after 23 years of service, Staff Sergeant Johnson now works for the Department of Homeland Security.

Saturday, May 14 - Michael Martinez

Colonel Michael Martinez served in the United States Army for twenty-eight years of active duty. Specializing in Infantry and as a Army Foreign Area Officer, he moved eighteen times and deployed five in support of operations in Panama, Somalia, Kuwait, Bosnia, and Serbia.

The recipient of the Army Legion of Merit and many other awards, Colonel Martinez retired in 2006 and now teaches at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

Sunday, May 15 - Karen Logan

Command Sergeant Major Karen Logan has served in the United States Army just short of thirty years. Having served in various leadership positions all over the world, she has deployed in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, Operation Joint Guard, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Noble Eagle.

Currently, she is working in support of Operation Enduring Freedom performing duties as the Command Sergeant Major of the 2220th Mobilization Support Battalion which supports thousands of individuals mobilized through Fort Bliss.

Tuesday, May 17 - Kip Laverick

Sergeant Kip Laverick served in the United States Army as a Chemical Operations Specialist for six years. During his first deployment, he served in Kuwait as a Chemical Recon and Quick Reaction Force in Kuwait and Southern Iraq. Later, while deployed in Afghanistan, he served as the Team Leader for the Protective Service Detail platoon, which acted as security detail for senior leaders and VIPS. During this time, they and military forces from France, New Zealand, and United Arab Emirates conducted over 250 successful missions.

In 2010, the decorated veteran was honorably discharged due to injuries sustained in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, May 18 (Day) - Juliette Ritzman and Beth Ready

Earlier today, more than 200 agents, officers and staff from the Federal Bureau of Investigation gathered to tailgate at Kauffman Stadium. They toured the stadium and met with Manager Ned Yost and Royals players. Joining us today are the two longest-serving members of the U.S. military who also worked for Kansas City office of the FBI. Operational Support Technician Juliette Ritzman has 23 years of active and reserve time with U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. She eventually became a major in the Air Force as a helicopter pilot and served in Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. And Operational Support Technician Beth Ready has served 21 years of active and reserve time with the Air Force and U.S. Army. She rose to Master Sergeant in the Air Force and served in the Philippines. Both of these FBI career women and made a commitment to face threats foreign and domestic – in their day jobs and with the military.

Wednesday, May 18 (Night) - Nathan Coffey

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Coffey served as an Aviation Ordnanceman in the United States Navy. During his five years of service, he spent two and a half years at sea during three deployments with the Strike Fighter Squadron 113 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. While deployed, Petty Officer Third Class Coffey served as a plane captain in charge of F/A-18 Hornet aircraft and was in the ordnance shop where he loaded over 400 tons of live and inert ammunition with his loading teams.

A member of the NAS Lemoore Ceremonial Guard, he performed in over 100 events before being honorably discharged in 2011.

Thursday, May 26 - Jared Vizant

Specialist Jared Vinzant served in the United States Army for three years. A combat medic, he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 where he ran multiple combat missions with a combat engineer unit in the 864th engineer battalion out of Fort Lewis, Washington. For his actions, Specialist Vinzant was the recipient of two combat awards and numerous other medals before being medically discharged in 2014.

Friday, May 27 - Mike Essary

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Essary served in the United States Army for twenty-seven years. Deployed multiple times, he served three times in Iraq, twice in Bosnia, and served on an advisory visit to Afghanistan. The recipient of the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and numerous other awards, Lieutenant Colonel Essary served as the Senior Trainer in the Mission Command Training Program at Fort Leavenworth before retiring on March 1.

Saturday, May 28 - Burris Wilson

Staff Sergeant Burris Wilson served in the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1956. The Sergeant Major of the 729 AC & W Squadron, he served as a ground radio operator trained in international Morse code during the Korean War. Discharged in 1956, he began working full-time and graduated from UMKC with a degree in physics and later got a master's in Business Administration at Rockhurst College.

Sunday, May 29 - Waylon White

Captain Waylon White graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2000 and served eight years in the United States Marine Corps as an artillery officer. Captain White was deployed to Iraq in 2003 with 2nd Tank Battalion and again in 2006 as embedded combat advisor to an Iraqi Infantry Battalion. Seriously wounded during a mortar and IED attack during his last deployment, Captain White spent over a year in the hospital and rehab centers before being subsequently medically retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2008. The recipient of many awards, including the Bronze Star with Combat V and Purple Heart, he now works for Garmin and is the co-owner of Pinot's Palette in Lawrence with his wife, Victoria.

Monday, May 30 - James G. Payton

Private First Class James G. Payton enlisted with the Marines shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941. Sent all over the world for training, he took part in the 1st wave of the bloodiest battle at Tarawa with the 2nd Marine Division. Private First Class Payton was one of twenty-five Marines aboard one of several amphibious tractors that stormed the beach. Shot in the leg and carried to safety, he was one of only two aboard his tractor that survived. After fighting in the battle for two days, he was eventually taken to California where he spent 18 months in the hospital having multiple surgeries to repair his leg.

Following his service, the Purple Heart Recipient returned to Hutchinson, Kansas where he started an optical business, Payton Optical.

Tuesday, May 31 - Cody McNorton

Staff Sergeant Cody McNorton has served in the United States Air Force since 2006. A Joint Terminal Attack Controller, he has deployed on five tours including four to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom and once to Iraq for Operation Inherent Resolve.

Currently, Staff Sergeant McNorton is stationed at Fort Bragg with the 14th ASOS.

Wednesday, June 1 - Raymond Johnson

Drafted at 18, Raymond Johnson served in Viet Nam from 1968 to 1969. Specializing in unloading ammo ships and transportation, he received several presidential citations for her service. Upon returning home, he served as military police at Fort Leonardwood for the remainder of his term.

Following his service, he worked in and owned his own car repair shop and was a transmission specialist for over 20 years.

Monday, June 13 - Ed Reeder

Major General Ed Reeder has served thirty-five years in the Army including thirty years as a Green Beret, serving in support of eight combat deployments with six of those to Afghanistan. Most recently, he served as the Commanding General of the Special Operations Joint Task Force – Afghanistan/NATO Special Operations Component Command- Afghanistan, where he planned and executed every special operation from 2014 to 2015.

The recipient of numerous awards including the Army Distinguished Medal and Bronze Star, he was recently awarded the Afghan Distinguished Service Medal from the President of Afghanistan.

Tuesday, June 14 - Patricia Thon

Lieutenant Colonel Patricia Thon served in the United States Air Force as a Nurse for twenty years. Having held a variety of positions throughout her career, as a major she was assigned to the 48th Medical Group at RAF Lakenheath England which served as direct support of Operation Allied Force in Kosovo and saw her and her team supporting day to day combat operations around the clock through the duration of the operation.

Lieutenant Colonel Thon culminated her career as the Chief Nurse Executive and acting Medical Operations Squadron Commander at F.E. Warren Air Force Base.

Wednesday, June 15 - Jake Marcum

Sergeant First Class Jake Marcum entered the service in 2003 when he trained to be a Ranger. From January 2004 to June 2007, he deployed three times, once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. He eventually became a Ranger Instructor in Georgia for three years, but was selected to be a Platoon Sergeant for the 18th Airborne Corp Long Range Surveillance Company and deployed to Afghanistan for a third time.

Due to combat wounds he sustained in June of 2014, the Purple Heart recipient is now medically retired.

Thursday, June 16 - James Pryan

Master Sergeant James Pryan has served in the United States Air Force for twenty-four years specializing as a Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory specialist. Currently, he is the Health Professions Flight Chief for Eastern Iowa, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, and Upper Michigan covering over 47,000 square miles.

The decorated serviceman also serves as a physician recruiter for the VA hospitals in Leavenworth and Topeka.

Friday, June 17 - Pete Matthews

Technical Sergeant Pete Matthews served nine years of active duty as a Security Forces Fire Team member and has spent the last seven years as an active training reservist. His duties have included leading, managing, supervising, and performing force protection duties to protect personnel and nuclear and conventional weapons systems.

Deployed once to Kyrgyzstan working with access control, law enforcement, and aircraft security programs, he also participated in a joint military exercise with US and Korean Military forces.

Saturday, June 18 - Joseph Burks

Major Joseph Burks served in the United States Army for twenty years. Originally enlisted for nine years, he took over as a Medical Service Corp officer in 2002 and deployed to Iraq as a medical operations planner for Task Force 1-34, supporting the 82nd Airborne and 1st Marine Division. The recipient of two Bronze Stars and the Combat Medical Badge, he also served a year in Afghanistan as the Chief of Medical Operations for the 1st Infantry Division Headquarters.

Currently, the retired Major is the Public Affairs Officer for the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System.

Sunday, June 19 - Tom Bray

Water Tender First Class Thomas Bray served in the United States Navy for six years. After enlisting at the age of 17, he served on the USS Augusta during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Serving most of his time on the USS Cabot, he participated in several battles throughout his career including the Battle of Midway.

After leaving the military, the decorated veteran ran a dairy route with Meyer Dairy in Independence, and had 15 children with his wife Mary Joan.

Friday, June 24 - Jack Strange

Colonel Jack Strange served in the United States Army for twenty-six years. An infantry officer, he served as a Mechanized Infantry Company Executive Officer in the 5th Infantry Division to Viet Nam where he was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor and Combat Infantryman's Badge.

Later in his career, he served as a Company Commander and Battalion Operations Officer in Germany, a United Nations Peacekeeper along the border of Egypt and Israel, and served twice in Korea, including an assignment as Commander of the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment.

Saturday, June 25 - Richard Owen

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Owen served in the United States Air Force for twenty years. Highly decorated, the C-130 pilot earned the Silver Star for gallantry in conncection with military operations against opposing armed forces in Southeast Asia, and the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight as a pilot at Dong Ha, Republic of Vietnam.

Following the war, he owned and operated a Christian bookstar and was a department manager in Topeka, Kansas.

Sunday, June 26 - Milton Lewis

Captain Milton Lewis received a regular Army Commision as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Military Intelligence Corps through the Officer Candidate School in 2009. Recently, Captain Milton served as the Task Force Durable-Iraq Operations Officer for 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Riley at Camp Taji, Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

In 2011, the decorated veteran was selected and deployed as an Intelligence Analyst supporting the United States Special Operations Command during Operation Enduring Freedom in Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.

Monday, June 27 - Connor McCarthy

Captain Connor McCarthy has served in the United States Army for four years, in addition to four years at West Point. Specializing in Infantry and Brigade Combat Team, he has deployed three times in the last four years. His first deployment was to Afghanistan where his unit facilitated the transition of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police to the lead as they provide security to the people of Afghanistan. More recently, the Bronze Star medalist deployed on two NATO missions to Germany and Lithuania as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Tuesday, June 28 - Michael Macias

Mineman First Class Michael Macias served in the United States Navy for twenty-one years, starting as an avionics technician and later changing occupations to teach explosive ordinance disposal experts how to disarm and dispose of explosive devices. The recipient of the Navy Commendation Medal and two Navy Achievement Medals, Mineman First Class Macias served in two wars, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Now an Executive Director of an Education non-profit in Kansas City, he is currently finishing his doctorate degree in Business Administartion.

Thursday, July 7 - Wesley Thomas

Staff Sergeant Wesley Thomas joined the Army in 2006 as a wheeled vehicle mechanic. Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, he served as the NCOIC for recovery vehicle operation. In 2014, he switched his specialty to career counselor, and just this past week, he returned from a 9-month deployment to Kuwait where he served as the Battalion Career Counselor for multiple units.

The recipient of the Army Commendation Medal and numerous other awards, Staff Sergeant Thomas will be changing stations from Fort Riley to Fort Gordon, Georgia this fall.

Friday, July 8 - Robert Garrett

Master Sergeant Robert Garrett was drafted into the United States Army in 1942. Arriving in Normandy just 3 months after D-Day, he fought in many battles including the Battle of the Bulge. Serving as a radio operator for the 142nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion, his primary job was to track the enemy aircraft and shoot them down.

In 1944, Master Sergeant Garrett was able to meet Bob Hope when he showed up on the field in a truck, and he even danced with the Radio City Rockets when they needed a soldier to dance with.

Saturday, July 9 - Jared Vinzant

Specialist Jared Vinzant served in the United States Army for three years. A combat medic, he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 where he ran multiple combat missions with a combat engineer unit in the 864th engineer battalion out of Fort Lewis, Washington. For his actions, Specialist Vinzant was the recipient of two combat awards and numerous other medals before being medically discharged in 2014.

Sunday, July 10 - Zeke Crozier

E-6 Staff Sergeant Zeke Crozier served in the Army Reserve for nine years. A 15U Helicopter repairman, he deployed to Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2005, and in 2009 he traveled to Uganda, Africa on a humanitarian mission. During his final deployment in 2011 to Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Crozier was severely injured in a Chinook Helicopter crash that caused a traumatic brain injury, leaving him in a coma for weeks.

With extensive therapy, the Purple Heart recipient regained his ability to walk and talk.

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