Jerome Wallace Jr. spent 10 years in the U. S. Navy as a Submarine Electronics Technician before joining Boeing eight years ago. Today he is a manufacturing manager in Boeing Fabrication in Everett, Wash.
But it’s his role as president of the Boeing Veteran Engagement Team (BVET), a Boeing resource group with more than a thousand members in Washington state, that led to him taking the mound during the Boeing-sponsored Mariners Salute to Armed Forces game in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday.
He said the moment represented a perfect melding of several key passions.
“The military has been a great part of my life, and baseball has been a great part of my life,” said Wallace as he stepped on the field. “To represent Boeing here is priceless. It’s awesome to work for a company that supports veterans the way they do.”
Several Boeing leaders joined Wallace along the edge of the baseball diamond to cheer him on and show their support. That included Medal of Honor recipient Flo Groberg, who serves as chief of staff to Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister. Groberg threw a similar “partner pitch” several years ago.
“It’s a huge honor that we get one of our Boeing veterans, one of our Boeing leaders, to go out there and throw the first pitch to represent the company, but most important to represent the Armed Forces.” said Groberg.
When the moment came, Wallace hurled a perfect pitch in front of more than 30,000 baseball fans, including several hundred co-workers.
Nearly 15% of Boeing employees are veterans, and many of the company’s sports sponsorships feature activities that celebrate former and current members of the military. Earlier this month, Boeing partnered with the Seattle Seahawks for a unique military hiring event – please see that story here!
By Deborah Feldman and Eric Olson