OV police, Golder Ranch firefighters to present colors at All-Star Game
Ceremony to honor victims of Jan. 8
An honor guard of policemen from Oro Valley and firefighters from Golder Ranch Fire District will present the colors at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday.
The Tucson-area agencies were picked to honor the families and victims of the Jan. 8 mass shooting in which six were killed and 13 wounded, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The agencies will each send three members to carry the American flag at the game in Phoenix, said Lt. John Teachout, a spokesman for the Oro Valley Police Department.
"It's a huge honor," Teachout said. "It's the opportunity of a lifetime" for the officers.
"We're very honored to be picked," said Capt. Will Seeley, a spokesman for Golder Ranch. The honor guard "takes this very seriously," he said.
"It's going to be a pretty big deal for a smaller department like us at Golder Ranch to be on a national stage," said the honor guard's vice-commander, firefighter Scott Ellis. "No pressure," he joked.
"It's a bit bigger event than they're used to," Seeley said. "We're honored and humbled to be asked to participate."
Presenting the colors will be officers Young, Nelson and Burgess from OVPD, and Engineer Russo and firefighters Unger and Ellis from GRFD.
MLB officials first contacted the Pima County Sheriff's Department, but that agency's honor guard wasn't available, Teachout said.
PCSD suggested that OVPD's honor guard present the colors, Teachout said, so Oro Valley "contacted our sister agency at Golder Ranch."
"Both of our agencies were very involved in the events of Jan. 8," he said. "We're kind of overwhelmed."
"It's a way to honor the families of those who were killed and wounded," Teachout said. "Our department was hugely impacted by that event... this is a way to tie our community together."
The honor guards for the two organizations "have spent a lot of time training and doing events together," Seeley said.
Members of both honor guards were among those who participated in Friday's National 9-11 Flag raising and restoration, which also honored the victims of Jan. 8.
The honor guards are each sending roughly half their members to the game, the spokesmen said.
The 82nd MLB All-Star Game will be held at Chase Field in Phoenix, Tuesday at 5 p.m., and will be broadcast on Fox 11 in Tucson.
Throwing out the first pitch will be Daniel Hernandez, Jr., an intern in Giffords' office who helped save her life after the shooting.