VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Champion Boxer Visits VA
July 18, 2012 - It's not unusual to see VIPs visiting patients at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, but this is the first time an undefeated super middle weight boxing champion of the world ever set foot here.
East Bay resident Andre Ward came to VA Palo Alto hospital on July 17 to say thank you. Thank you to the men and women who have defended our country and paid a huge price in the process. Ward, who has fought some tough battles himself, soon learned they were nothing compared to the battles these soldiers, Marines, and sailors are fighting now.
"It's an eye opener. It's humbling. They have given so much for our country and I don't think people really appreciate and understand the sacrifice they have made and are making," said Ward.
One of those patients was Army Sgt. Christopher Montera, who was hit by a rocket propelled grenade, losing both legs and being badly burned. "I sincerely appreciate and thank you for everything that you've done," Ward said to Montera.
Ward spent nearly two hours visiting with Veterans from the Vietnam War, as well as those from the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. To each he held out his hand and expressed his heart-felt gratitude for their service. For the Veterans and Servicemembers it was a chance to meet a boxing legend and take a break from their arduous rehabilitation.
"Meeting Andre was really a high point for me," said Navy SEAL Jordan Stevenson, who received his Purple Heart recently during ceremonies in the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Healing Garden. "It's hard being in a hospital for more than nine months, and visits like this really help our morale."
Ward remarked how much he was moved by the visit, too. "I can't believe these guys are thanking me, because I'm here to thank them," said Ward. "Their struggles and their accomplishments are so much more than mine. I am truly impressed. Truly touched. I will be back."
To view the ABC TV story: Local boxer Andre Ward visits Palo Alto VA hospital