Army Col. Kevin Hicks could barely contain his excitement seeing members of his favorite Major League Baseball team, the New York Mets, walk into the Military Advanced Training Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) on June 6.
"It was awesome [seeing them]; a dream come true," said Hicks, injured recently while in Afghanistan and now recovering at Walter Reed Bethesda. "I made it back for a great season, and for these guys to show up here means a lot," said the Long Island, N.Y. native.
"For a guy like me away from home, being able to see someone from home is great," Hicks added.
The Mets stopped by WRNMMC during their three-game series against the Washington Nationals last week. The team brought players, coaches, trainers, managers and even the team's mascot, Mr. Met, to Walter Reed Bethesda to show their appreciation, and help boost morale of service members and their families at the medical center.
Rear Adm. Alton L. Stocks, WRNMMC commander, welcomed the Mets to the medical center, thanking them for coming and uplifting the spirits of the wounded warriors and their families.
During their visit, the Mets signed autographs and listened to stories of the wounded warriors.
Manager Terry Collins called the visit, "a reality check." He said the loss of a baseball game was no comparison to what wounded warriors experience.
"They want to talk about what they're going through. They want to talk about things that they've experienced. We have no concept of what these guys have to deal with, none," Collins said. "You leave [here] with a different perspective. We don't have any idea how you perform under those types of circumstances."
"I'm just real excited they took time out of their schedule to come here and hang out with us," said Marine Cpl. Tyler Southern, injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2010.