This year’s Bob Feller Act of Valor Awards go to…………….
Major League Baseball’s Nick Swisher, a Cleveland Indians outfielder; Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tommy Lasorda, former Dodgers manager; and Senior Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Carl Thompson, the calibration laboratory lead chief petty officer on the carrier George Washington.
“This is a tremendous honor and such a humbling experience for me,” Thompson said in a statement after the awards were announced Oct. 10. “I am overwhelmed and extremely excited at the same time. I would have never dreamed that I would receive an award for the way I live my life, but I am extremely grateful for my parents and all those teachers, mentors, and community leaders along the way who instilled in me the morals and ethics that I live my life by.”
The award was inspired by former chief and Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller, a Cleveland Indians pitcher who dropped everything at 23 years old to join the Navy after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He served for four years, making chief before returning to the MLB and spending another decade with the Indians.
In addition to the MLB honorees, the award goes to one chief, nominated by his chain of command and approved by the master chief petty officer of the Navy.
Swisher, a fellow Cleveland Indian like the awardee’s namesake, is active with Operation Homefront and the USO, with whom he has traveled to Afghanistan.
“The first thing that comes to mind is honor and pride,” Swisher said in a statement. “For me, just to be in the same breath as a man like Bob Feller, I could not be more honored to be in this position. I could not be more grateful to receive this award, something that is near and dear to my heart.”
Fun fact: Lasorda also took a sabbatical from baseball from 1945 – 1947 to serve in the Army, and today stays active with military outreach, including a 2009 USO trip to Iraq.
“It is a privilege and an honor to receive the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award,” Lasorda said in a statement. “I have the highest respect and admiration for the men and women who serve in the United States Navy, as well as the other branches of the military. I loved Bob Feller and am so grateful to receive an award that bears his name.”
The three men will be honored in a Nov. 5 ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., where MLB guests will come together with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens.