Ty Barber believes every veteran should be honored, and he did it in his own special way at a baseball game last summer.
The tender and sweet gesture came while he was attending the Independence Eve Celebration baseball game, which pitted the Buffalo Bisons against the Syracuse Chiefs. It was held at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, New York, and at some point during a play, the 11-year-old baseball fan and Little League player caught the ball from the first baseman.
Also seated in the stands was a World War II veteran, 96-year-old Richard Snethen, who was taking in the game with his son. They were seated in the same section as Ty, and when Richard saw him catch the ball, he remarked to his son that Ty must be happy. And what baseball fan wouldn’t be, regardless of age?
So you can imagine his surprise when, at the end of the game, Ty walked over and handed his newest prized possession to Richard as a small token of appreciation. “I guess I’m trying to be a role model, and we really have to honor our veterans,” he explained.
And the gesture certainly wasn’t lost on Richard…
“I mean, that was the most moving thing. One of the treasured moments of my life, to tell you the truth,” said Richard, adding the gesture “makes you really feel that there’s some hope for America yet.”
In fact, he was so moved by Ty’s selflessness that he wrote a poem about it soon afterward, and he placed it in a place of honor in his home, alongside that baseball — which Ty even signed!
Ty Barber caught the fielder’s ball, holding it close ’til the game was over. Then, with a hug and a beaming smile, he gave his prize ball to a WWII vet on the aisle, the “Greatest Generation” is now being challenged by a yet to be named generation. The Bisons won, six to two
And both Ty and I – WON TOO!
Word about this heartfelt gesture eventually trickled down to the Buffalo Bisons, and they extended an invitation for Richard and Ty to attend a game together a couple months later. During that game, these two baseball fans received a standing ovation when their friendship was acknowledged on the video board.
Honoring vets with memorials, parades and other public displays is great. But we’re betting Ty’s personal gesture meant more to Richard than any other “thank you” he’d ever received. Watch the video below to hear more about how much this meant to him, and remember to share to spread the love.