Results tagged ‘ Military ’
Staff Sergeant Timothy Ruch came to Nationals Park on July 5 to enjoy a game of baseball with his friend on what, he later realized, was a special night to honor military families with First Lady Michelle Obama. By the end of the evening, he was a million dollars richer.
On his way out of the ballpark, Tim purchased a D.C. Gold Scratcher from one of the two D.C. lottery vending machines on the main concourse. When he scratched off his ticket, he was shocked at what he saw.
“I was sitting right behind the Nationals dugout for the game and got to see the First Lady up close,” Ruch said. “I had seen the machine earlier in the day and I told my friend that I was going to put in 40 bucks, just for fun. I put the money in, and the first ticket I scratched off said $1 million dollars! I was walking right past the outfield and I kissed the ground right out there.”
When he called his wife to tell her the news, she was skeptical.
“She didn’t really believe me at first,” Ruch recounted. “So I had my buddy take a picture of the ticket with his camera phone and sent it to her. About five minutes later she called me back ready for me to get home and show it to her.”
Ruch became the first to win the D.C. Lottery’s $1 Million Grand Prize. In the three weeks since, he has considered various ways to spend his new riches.
“It’s been crazy,” he said. “I’ve been trying to do the smart thing with the money, putting it away for my nieces and nephews for college, trying to pay off some more bills, and relax a little bit. We might splurge and buy a few things here and there, but I’m not going to go crazy.”
After serving in the U.S. Air Force for more than eight years, he hopes to now use his winnings to settle down in the D.C. area.
“I got back in March from Iraq,” Ruch said. “I was there from September through March, so it was my first Nationals game of the season. I’ve got another year and a half on my enlistment, and my wife’s got two years. We’re actually closing on a new house, hopefully by next week. A month ago I didn’t know if we would be able to afford a house, and now I think we’ll be okay.”
Last Friday night, the D.C. Lottery presented Tim with a ceremonial check in honor of his win before the Nationals took on the Mets. Ruch and his wife took in batting practice from the field and spent some time with the team that had brought him luck.
“Just being able to be down on the field with the Nats is pretty cool,” Ruch said. “I’m a big Nationals fan and to actually be on the field with them, and winning with them, has been pretty great.”
Last Friday, Washington Nationals players and coaches made their annual trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the last time they’ll visit the facility before the hospital closes its doors next week. The facility has been the U.S. Army’s flagship medical center since 1909 and has served more than 150,000 patients from all branches of the military. After more than 100 years in action, its doors are set to close on September 15.
While the sight of the ballplayers produced smiles on the faces of many patients and their families, the players and coaches were struck by the sacrifices these servicemen and women had made for the sake of their country.
“You see a 19-year-old kid with his legs missing, and it’s pretty tough to take,” pitcher John Lannan said. “These guys are doing something they believe in and we’re proud to have them out there fighting for us.”
The Nationals came away with a new found appreciation for the dedication of the armed forces. What they saw made them realize how truly lucky they were.
“When you come here, everything is put into perspective,” infielder Alex Cora said. “Even if we win, it’s just a game. Winning or losing, first place or last place, it’s just a game. We’re lucky to do what we do. It’s because of these people we have the freedom to live and do the things that we do on a daily basis, because of their sacrifice for us.”
The Nationals are used to being seen as role models in the community, but on the day of their visit, they admired the positive attitudes they saw from the military patients.
“I think they are more of a role model to me”, said Lannan. “They are as much of a role model to me as I am to them. I hope those guys realize how much we support them and how much we appreciate everything they do.”
Ever wanted to run the bases at a Major League ballpark? This Memorial Day, you will have your chance as Nationals fans of all ages are invited to “Run the Bases for Military Families.” The event is held in coordination with Troy Yocum (www.DrumHike.com) an Iraq War veteran who is hiking 7,000 miles across America to raise $5 million for military families.
For the low-price of $20, fans can take advantage of a special holiday ticket deal that includes a Left Field Corner seat, a $10 donation to Hike for our Heroes benefitting military families and entry to run the bases after the game. Tickets may be purchased at the Team Store Box Office.
Fans who have already purchased tickets to the Memorial Day game against the Phillies may buy wristbands to run the bases for a $10 donation to Hike for our Heroes. Wristbands can be purchased at the Community Relations kiosk behind Section 107 the day of the game.