AVON — Crushers fans were treated to more than just a baseball game Wednesday night. In a pre-game ceremony, 18 young men and women were sworn into the Air Force.
Air Force Lt. Brian Chapman, a Wellington native with the 311th Recruiting Squadron headquartered in Pittsburgh and operating out of Avon and Elyria offices locally, swore in the recruits.
“It’s my privilege to administer the oath of enlistment to the young men and women behind me,” Chapman said. “These young men and women are members of your community, so it’s a great privilege for us to see the support from the community as they ship off to basic training.”
Recruits sworn in as part of the Avon Air Force Delayed Enlistment Program included Aaron Gomez, Dan Limpert, Jesse Moran, Grant Harley, Donald Young, Connor Fritsch, Jordan Mils, Joseph Kubinski, Christopher McKenzie, Ivan Velazquez, Mike Wearsh, Eryn Banfield, Alexander Lescarbeau and Marco Pena.
Elyria Air Force Delayed Enlistment Program recruits included Matthew Lang, Nathan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Hamby and Mario Lunato.
Before their arrival at All Pro Freight Stadium, the recruits were served dinner at Avon Lake American Legion Post 211 and escorted to the stadium by the Avon Lake Police Department.
Jim Harley of the Avon Lions Club was present at the ceremony and helped the Air Force organize donation collections for the Wounded Warrior Project. A portion of Wednesday’s Crushers’ ticket revenue went to the cause, and Harley and other Lions members and Air Force personnel manned a booth to accept donations. They collected more than $350.
Harley, whose son Grant was sworn in, said he’s proud of all the young men and women sworn in Wednesday night. He said the send-off for the recruits is something they all deserve.
“It’s a proud moment not just as a father but also as a citizen seeing this many young people willing to dedicate their future, and possibly their lives, to our country,” he said.
Lions member John Kaczmarek, a friend of the Harley family, said it was great seeing a family friend sworn in.
“Grant is a phenomenal kid and he’s going to go far,” Kaczmarek said.
Grant, 18, a 2013 Avon Lake High School graduate, said he enlisted for the educational opportunities. He leaves for Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio in November and said the send-off and ceremony are appreciated.
“Having the support of family, friends and the community added to the whole experience,” he said. “I was glad to be a part of it.”
Those interested in learning about opportunities in the Air Force can contact Sgt. Luke Bistor at (440) 937-2122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.