Several Fort Leonard Wood service members were treated to an experience they will never forget as they were treated to a “first-class” baseball experience in Kansas City.
KC Royals pitcher, Ian Kennedy, and his wife, Allison, bought out the ground field dugout, had it fully catered and treated 30 service members and their families to a game between the Royals and the Boston Red Sox. The event was coordinated by the Fort Leonard Wood USO.
“Mr. Kennedy and his wife, Allison, love the military and love bringing unique experiences to those that serve,” said Kelly Brownfield, Western Missouri Regional Operations director for the USO of Missouri. Kennedy has a brother-in-law currently serving in the Navy and started the tradition of bringing service members to a game beginning when he played for the Padres in San Diego. This is the second time the Kennedys have treated Fort Leonard Wood service members.
“Many service members didn’t know the extent of what was going to happen, they knew they were going to a game courtesy of the Kennedy’s, but I left some of the details out so when they arrived, they would be surprised,” Brownfield said.
“When Ian Kennedy came down to the suite to greet everyone, you could truly see the gratitude on our service members faces, little did they know how down to earth he would be and he ultimately wanted to thank them for each of their service to our country. Many service members could not stop talking about how they would remember this forever, no matter where the military would take them.”
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Robert Jacobs and his wife, Carrie, attended the game. Jacobs, who also caught a foul ball from Royals third baseman, Michael Moustakas, said he was thankful for the opportunity to attend.
“Thank you to all the people who made for a once in a lifetime experience,” Jacobs said.
It was a losing game for the Royals, but that didn’t matter to Jacobs.
“Although they didn’t win, the people have a place in our hearts,” he said.
The evening was full of different experiences for the service members. The participants had the opportunity to visit the field for batting practices prior to the game and the Kennedys had the stadium store bring down items for the participants to pick any souvenir they wanted.
“Everyone left having a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I don’t think they will ever forget the generosity of the Kennedys,” Brownfield said.