NEW YORK -- The Mets salute a Veteran of the Game during every home game, but even among the many honored servicemen and women who have graced Citi Field this season, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Leroy Petry stands out.
On Tuesday, Petry became the second living active-duty service member to receive a Medal of Honor for actions in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. Petry earned the prestigious award and a lunch date with President Obama for his courageous actions in Afghanistan on May 26, 2008.
Though shot in both legs during a mission, Petry managed to make his way to an enemy hand grenade and throw it away from himself and two fellow Rangers. Though he managed to save his peers, Petry had to have his right hand amputated afterward and now uses a prosthetic.
"It's been great," Petry said of winning the Medal of Honor. "But the greatest part about it is knowing that the part that I received it for is saving two guys' lives, and that they're here and their families didn't have to suffer the grief, and they will go on to have children and live great lives. That was good enough for me, so receiving this honor is over the top."
Petry met some of the Mets' players, was honored on the video board during the game and was presented a gift by shortstop Jose Reyes before the fourth inning.
Today, Petry works as a liaison officer for the U.S. Special Operations Command Care Coalition-Northwest Region in Washington State. He works with wounded soldiers to help them make the transition back to active duty or to civilian life. It's a job he finds particularly fulfilling after having to make that same transition himself.
"I know how much they did for me and my family going through that process," Petry said. "If I could do the same for another soldier, it's my way of helping out. It's great and it's rewarding for me knowing that I've been able to help them."
Petry was especially happy to have his three children with him at Citi Field.
"They're all athletic," Petry said. "They love any type of sport. They're really good sports fans."
Aaron Taube is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.