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Our Heroes

Our Heroes

The Royals and Budweiser salute a member of the military at games throughout the 2015 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.

2015 Honorees:

Monday, April 6 - Bernadine Stanley

Yeoman Second Class Petty Officer Bernadine Stanley enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943 and spent three years serving as part of the Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service group. During her time, she served on the Admiral's Staff at the Naval Reserve Training Command Naval Air Station in Illinois with then-Lieutenant and future President Gerald Ford.

Following her service, she returned home to Kansas City where she and her husband raised ten children.

Wednesday, April 8 - Leigh Bellinger

Master Sergeant Leigh Bellinger has served twenty years in the United States Air Force. Beginning his career with the American Forces Network in South Korea, he has worked as a radio and television broadcaster, traveling all over the world telling stories of men and women in the United States military.

Deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo, the decorated Master Sergeant is now serving as the superintendent of the McConnell Air Force Base public affairs office.

Friday, April 17 - Robert Bennett

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bennett began his military career at West Point and has since served 24 years in the United States Army. Throughout his service, he has done a variety of tasks all over the world including, three tours in Iraq, planning and executing various military strategies and missile strikes, and served as the Chief of Operations of the Army in Africa.

Recently, Lieutenant Colonel Bennett moved back to Kansas City and is now an instructor at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

Saturday, April 18 - Brad Burkhart

Sergeant First Class Brad Burkhart joined the United States Army in 1995 as an Indirect Fireman and served two deployments in Kuwait with the 1st Calvary Division. Later, as a combat engineer, he served as a Platoon Sergeant for a Route Clearance and Counter IED platoon in Afghanistan.

The recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Sergeant First Class Burkhart medically retired after injuries sustained in an I-E-D blast while in Afghanistan.

Sunday, April 19 - John Thompson

Captain John Thompson served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a B-17 Navigator during World War 2 and was assigned to the 94th Heavy Bomb Group, 8th Air Force in England. In April, 1944 his B-17 Flying Fortress crew was shot down over Berlin and he was taken as a prisoner of war and held at four camps. Over a year later, General Patton's third Army liberated John and his camp.

Monday, April 20 - Zachary Jacobs

Specialist Zachary Jacobs has served in the United States Army Reserve for six years. Deployed twice, he served as a Motor Transport Operator, driving over 30,000 miles throughout Iraq and later a Horizontal Constructions Engineer in charge of the deconstruction of military bases in Afghanistan.

Recently, the Army Commendation Medal recipient re-enlisted for six more years in the Reserve.

Tuesday, April 21 - Chris Stergos

Sergeant Chris Stergos served in the United States Marines for five years and specialized as an Intelligence Specialist and Small Arms Range Instructor. Deployed three times, Sergeant Stergos served with the 2nd Intelligence Battalion twice in Iraq, and as a part of a Joint Task Force on a counter-terrorism mission in the Horn of Africa.

The decorated veteran left the military in 2005 and is now very active with local military groups including the VFW Post 7397 and Team Red, White, and Blue.

Wednesday, April 22 - Jason Sigler

Major Jason Sigler graduated from West Point in 2001 and was commissioned in the Armor Branch. Deployed three times, he served as a tank platoon leader in Iraq in 2003, a Force Generation Planner in 2004, and while in Afghanistan in 2010, took command of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1-38 Cavalry Regiment.

The recipient of many awards including the Bronze Star with "V" device and Bronze Star with One Oak Leaf Cluster, he now attends the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

Thursday, April 30 - Robert Davis

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Davis enlisted in the United States Army as a Construction Equipment Repairer in June 1999 and was commissioned as an officer in 2008. Throughout his service he has been stationed all over the United States and has been deployed three times to Afghanistan and once to Iraq where he was in charge of a convoy security team that would run security for convoys throughout Iraq.

The highly decorated soldier and his family recently moved back home to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Friday, May 1 - Marciano Galarza

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Marciano Galarza has served in the United States Army for 20 years. A logistical officer for the 1st Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Riley, Kansas, he has deployed six total times with individual deployments to Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and three to Iraq.

Highly decorated, Chief Warrant Officer Galarza has received many awards including the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal.

Saturday, May 2 - William Barber

Sergeant William Barber has served in the Missouri Army National Guard for eight years. Specializing as a Motor Transport Operator and Petroleum Supply Specialist, Sergeant Barber has been deployed twice, once to Kosovo and most recently to Afghanistan.

The decorated veteran is currently serving as an RSP Coordinator for the Missouri Army National Guard Recruit Sustainment Program.

Sunday, May 3 - Darius and Dana Ervin

Major Darius Ervin has served in the Army for sixteen years in military intelligence. Deployed twice, he is the recipient of the Bronze Star. His wife, Captain Dana Ervin also served in the Army for six years and deployed once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

They are here today with their daughter and girl scout, Olivia.

Tuesday, May 5 - Ben Brock

Captain Ben Brock served in the United States Army for five years and specialized in logistics. Deployed twice to Afghanistan, he served as a Transportation Platoon Leader on convoy logistics patrols and led a High Risk Personnel Security Team for their brigade.

For his service, Captain Brock received the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Army Commendation Medal.

Wednesday, May 6 - Cale Swarnes

Sergeant Cale Swarnes served as an Infantryman for the 101st Airborne Division for eight years. Deployed to Iraq multiple times, he served as a Humvee driver, .50 cal gunner, and truck commander on over 750 combat missions. The recipient of two Purple Hearts for wounds received in combat, he is now medically retired and attending school to become an elementary teacher.

Thursday, May 7 - Oscar Filipot

Staff Sergeant Oscar Fillpot served twenty-five years in the United States Army and National Guard and specialized in Mechanized Field Artillery. Throughout his service, he deployed once and served three years in military intelligence.

Honorably discharged, Staff Sergeant Fillpot received numerous awards including Meritorious Service Award and Desert Storm Service.

Friday, May 15 - Amber Kash

First Sergeant Amber Kash served in the United States Marines Corp for twenty years in a variety of positions all over the world. Deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, First Sergeant Kash served as the Casualty Officer overseeing all Marines who were killed in action and ensured their personal belongings returned safely to their families.

Before retiring in 2012, the decorated veteran served in New York City where she conducted over 650 funerals for active duty Marines who were killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan and honorably discharged veterans.

Saturday, May 16 - Galen Cook

Sergeant Galen Cook served in the United States Army as a rifleman with the Sunset Infantry Division in the Pacific Theatre. The recipient of the SharpShooter Medal and Bronze Star, he participated in the re-taking of the Philippine Islands, the initial landing in New Guinea, and was a Military Policeman with the United States Army Occupation Force.

Following the war, Sergeant Cook married his wife of sixty-four years and raised their family on their cattle farm.

Sunday, May 17 - Chris Steger

Master Sergeant Chris Steger entered the United States Air Force in 1990 and served as a Fuels Airman. Deployed many times in support of various operations, he was under constant threat of rocket and mortar attacks while serving at Balad Air Base in Iraq, where he directed the delivery of 15 millin gallons of aviation fule to over 12,000 sorties.

In October of 2014, the highly decorated veteran retired as the Fuels Operations Superintendant at Whiteman Air Force Base.

Tuesday, May 19 - Samuel White

Colonel Samuel White III has served in the United States Air Force for twenty-three years as a bomber pilot. Commissioned through the United States Air Force in 1992, he participated in the first combat deployment of the B-2 Stealth as a member of the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Previously deployed in support of the Continuous Bomber Presense Mission, the decorated Colonel will go to Guam to serve as their Operations Group Commander.

Wednesday, May 20 - Nanci Higginbotham

Major Nanci Higginbotham joined the US Army Corp of Engineers in 1979 and served in construction, combat support, and training assignments in Germany during the end of the Cold War. During the second half of her career, she served as a program and project manager in military construction, civil works, and environmental restoration programs in Philadelphia and Kansas City. Major Higginbotham retired in 1996, but currently works as a civilian project manager in the Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District in the Environmental Restoration program.

Friday, May 22 - Nathan Buss

Petty Officer Second Class Nathan Buss served in the United States Navy from 2003-2007 as a Gunner's Mate. While on board the USS Shreveport, Petty Officer Buss was responsible for maintaining the ship's crew served weapons, conducted small arms training, and was a member of the “Vessel Boarding Search and Seizure Team” which chased pirates off the coast of Somalia. The decorated veteran and leukemia survivor also took part in the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Effort in which he earned the Humanitarian Service Medal.

Saturday, May 23 - Dustin Wells

Sergeant First Class Dustin Wells served sixteen years in the United States Army and Missouri Army National Guard. Deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was an infantryman and was responsible for combat and presence patrol while also training the Iraqi Army. Later deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Sergeant First Class Wells was a Brigade Lethal Fire support NCO. Currently, the Bronze Star recipient is a recruiting and retention NCO for the Missouri Army National Guard.

Sunday, May 24 - Loren Bonneau

Staff Sergeant Loren Bonneau served in the US Air Corps during World War 2, from 1944 to 1946. As a radio operator mechanic on B-29s, Staff Sergeant Bonneau and his crew were stationed on the Tinian and Mariana Islands and flew missions over Japan. Following the war, the decorated veteran became a teacher, principal, and superintendent of area schools.

Tuesday, June 2 - Cynthia Patton

Lieutenant Colonel Cynthia Patton served over twenty-five years of service on active duty and in the Reserves. Deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom, she served as the Theater Database Manager for Third Army, and also worked as a Defense Contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The decorated veteran is now the owner and President of Patton Leadership Consulting which provides training and leadership development to members of the Army.

Wednesday, June 3 - Stan Cherrie

Brigadier General Stan Cherrie served in the United States Army for over 30 years, primarily in armored Combat Arms units as a commander or staff officer. Deployed four times throughout his career, he served in Viet Nam twice as an armed helicopter platoon leader and ground cavalry troop leader, and later served in Bosnia and Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Storm.

The recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, and the Purple Heart, Brigadier General Cherrie retired in Leavenworth in 1998.

Thursday, June 4 - David Velasquez

Master Sergeant David Velasquez serves as a Loadmaster on a C-130 cargo plane with the Missouri Air National Guard. He has deployed multiple times to Afghanistan where his unit conducted air-drop missions and Aero-Medical Evacuations of wounded service members.

The decorated first responder has also flown missions in support of humanitarian efforts such as the Haiti earthquake, overseas NATO training operations, and has supported special operations and Airborne unit training missions.

Friday, June 5 - Isaiah Coleman

Enlisting in the United States Army in 1977, First Sergeant Isaiah Coleman served twenty-two years of active duty service as a rifleman and intelligence analyst. After retiring in 1999, First Sergeant Coleman deployed to Iraq three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and three times to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force as a Senior Intelligence Analyst.

The Lincoln, Nebraska native has received numerous awards including the Legion of Merit award and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

Saturday, June 6 - Jeffrey Hamilton

Chief Warrant Officer Jeffrey Hamilton has served in the United States Army for 13 years and currently serves as a 150-U Unmanned Aircraft Systems Platoon Leader and Operations Technician. Throughout his military career, Chief Warrant Officer Hamilton has been stationed all over the world and deployed once to Afghanistan and four times to Iraq, most recently returning from his last deployment on March 7 of this year.

Highly decorated, the Junction City native has received the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Sunday, June 7 - Daryl Ford

Fireman First Class Daryl Ford served in the United States Navy on the USS Sierra during World War 2. While stationed in the Phillipines in the Pacific theater, Daryl and his shipmates would repair other destroyers that were damaged from battle.

Following the war, Fireman First Class Ford was a postmaster in Valley Falls, Kansas for thirty years and heavily involved in his community.

For more information, fans can contact the Royals' Community Relations department at