DETROIT - A local soldier who considers himself a huge Tigers fan had been to about 20 games, but never had been on the field at Comerica Park.
Master Sgt. Ryan Roush of the U.S. Army saw his dream become reality Friday evening.
He was honored prior to the Detroit Tigers-Cleveland Indians game and delivered the official game ball to the pitcher's mound. He was accompanied on the field by his wife, Devin, and daughters Kyra, 12; Avery, 10; and Bella, 8.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Master Sgt. Ryan Roush waves to the crowd after delivering the ball to the pitcher's mound prior to the Detroit Tigers-Cleveland Indians game in Detroit Friday evening.
Roush has been a Tigers fan for as long as he can remember, and he recalled going to games as a child.
"My dad's been a fan for years," he said.
Roxie Roush, who arranged the experience for her stepson, said he is decorated, committed and happy, and loves what he does.
"He's a very humble person. He's very proud of his Purple Heart," she said.
The Detroit Tigers, according to the ball club's website, are proud to give back to those who serve the United States and make sacrifices for citizens' freedom and safety.
"To honor the dedication of the men and women serving our country, on select home games, the Detroit Tigers invite a member of the Armed Forces currently serving a tour of duty or recently returned from deployment to deliver the game ball to the pitcher's mound," it states.
Roxie Roush initially thought about trying to arrange an opportunity for her stepson to meet a player.
"I don't want an autograph, nothing big," she recalled.
A Tigers official explained the game-ball delivery program for veterans, and Roxie Roush learned the official wanted him to deliver the game ball.
"I almost fell off my chair," she said.
Devin, Roxie Roush said, informed her husband via Skype during his deployment in Jordan.
"He just kept saying, 'No way, no way.' He was so excited," Roxie Roush said.
Roush, who entered the military immediately after his graduation from Seneca East High School in 1999, said serving the country was something he always wanted to do. His 15-year military anniversary is Tuesday.
During his time in the military, he has served three tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan and recently returned from the deployment in Jordan. He now is stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.
Roush is on leave for about two weeks. He said will be leaving to return to El Paso July 27.
His plans for leave include a trip to Niagara Falls and Toronto, the Seneca County Fair and Cedar Point.
"(I) cannot come on leave without going to Cedar Point," he said.
He also is spending time visiting family and friends.