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Patriotic Tribute



The Volcanoes Patriotic Tribute 



2008 Jerry Howard, the founder of the Volcanoes' Patriotic Tribute, proposed a plan to owner Jerry Walker, asking if "something special" could be planned for the club's Fourth of July game. Walker approved Howard's plan. The first even pales in comparison to what the event has turned in to, as in the first year the Volcanoes had four Oregon National Guard Soldiers who had just gotten back from Iraq. Howard took them on the field between innings, read their bios and names, and the 5,000 fans in attendance gave them a three-minute standing ovation. That's when Howard realized he was on to something.

2009 In addition to Thanking, Honoring and Saluting 25 men and women from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East on the field, the Volcanoes flew in five NFL cheerleaders who also belong to a group - "Sweethearts for Soldiers". In addition, the Volcanoes introduced Oregon's only living "Medal of Honor" recipient - Corporal Robert Maxwell of WWII. The Volcanoes also added 10 organizations who work with military families and gave them a table on the main concourse so they could interact with military families in attendance. After the game, the Volcanoes had an extensive Fireworks Show with a blast from an Oregon National Guard Howitzer that rattled the ballpark.

2010 The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes were able to secure the first General officers - Major General Curt Loop, Brigadier General Bruce Prunk, and Brigadier General Charles Yriartte. In addition, the club Thanked, Honored and Saluted 40 other outstanding men and women from the rank of Colonel to Private. Specialist Kevin Pannell, United States Army Wounded Warrior, who had both legs amputated, joined the Patriotic Tribute, as did Tech Sergeant Don Malarkey of World War II "Band of Brothers" fame.   

2011 A group in Salem volunteered to decorate Volcanoes Stadium with 176 American Flags. It was a beautiful sight to see. The Oregon National Guard Army Band was present, as was the Oregon State Defense Force Bagpipe Band, the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution in their traditional dress. A look-alike President Abraham Lincoln was at the ballpark to greet fans at the main gate.   

2012 The Volcanoes added two new features - a "Stars and Stripes" Patriotic Baseball Card set where we featured a Volcanoes' player and a Military Hero on the card, with their bios on the back of the card. The Military Heroes felt like Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays with their own baseball card, and many kids asked for their autographs. In addition, the Volcanoes Thanked, Honored and Saluted tremendous Native American Veterans who had bravely and Honorably served the United States since President George Washington days. The Tribal Drum Group performed and the Grand Ronde Honor Guard removed a Flag-Draped Casket from the caisson as the Oregon State Defense Force Bagpipe Band played "Amazing Grace". The Honor Guard took the casket inside the stadium, and placed it in a teepee. It was a very Honorable, emotional moment, and a favorite with Volcanoes fans.    

2013 For the first time, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes had civilian Heroes which included Dr. Bridget Cantrell of Bellingham, Wash., a worldwide noted authority on PTSD, and Dr. Michael George of West Virginia. George presented the history of the National Anthem, and reenactments of Patrick Henry and Nathan Hale, among others. The highlight of the Tribute was the formal "Fallen Navy SEAL" Ceremony at home plate for SEAL Tyrone Woods who was one of the four killed in Benghazi. His mother, Cheryl Bennett, and other family members were at home plate for the Ceremony, plus many dignitaries including US Representative Kurt Schrader.

2014 The Volcanoes were notified by The Office of the Secretary of Defense that they had been designated as the Oregon site for the 50-Year Vietnam War Commemoration All the Veterans were very special, but three in particular deserved mention: Major Larry Deibert, with 578 combat flights in Vietnam and Oregon's Most Decorated Guardsman ever; Captain Ernie Brace of the Marines was shot down in Korea and was rescued, spending 7 years and 10 months in Vietnam prisons; Sergeant Jerry Murray, Marines, fought in two of the Marines' worst battles ever - the Battle of Dai Do and the Battle of Lamsan Village. Our "Fallen Soldier" Ceremony was for Marine Corps Lance Corporal Bill Koho, of Bend, killed in Vietnam in 1967. Many of his family were present for the ceremony. A drone got the game ball from the umpire, and delivered it to the pitcher to begin the game.

2015 The Volcanoes honored many Vietnam Veterans including Army Major General Curt Loop who holds two Distinguished Service Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, and 41 Air Medals, Air Force Lt. Colonel Bob Jeffrey who was shot down in Vietnam, and spent 7 years 3 months in Vietnam prisons, and a very special non-Vietnam Veteran, Marine and CIA Security Operative John Tiegen who spent 13 hours on the roof in Benghazi, and co-authored the book 13 Hours, and was featured in the movie 13 Hours. In 2015, we had two "Fallen Warrior" Ceremonies - Army Specialist 4 Joe Vierra, killed in Vietnam, and Air Force Captain Paul McClellan, of Stayton, who was shot down in Vietnam, and his body still remains unfound.