Friday, January 10, 2014

Disabled Army Vet with PTSD walking tall with huge flag

Army veteran proud of Seahawks role on, off field
Just before Saturday’s Seahawks game, Army veteran Armando Mejia will guide military members who unfurl and wave the large American flag that spreads from the end zone onto the field.
Seattle Times
By Jack Broom staff reporter
January 9, 2014
Dean Rutz
Army veteran proud of Seahawks role on, off field
Armando Mejia, left, also helps with Seahawks visits to military bases, such as Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

You likely wouldn’t notice Armando Mejia walks with a limp, and that’s the way he’d prefer it.

The IED explosion that ripped apart the Humvee he was riding in Iraq in 2004 is an inescapable part of this Army veteran’s history, requiring 20 surgeries and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

But it’s the present and future Mejia is concentrating on.

“I feel blessed to be here,” said Mejia, 35, “doing something I really enjoy.”

On Saturday, in the minutes before the Seahawks’ playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, Mejia will be at his usual post, in suit and tie, accompanying and cuing a military team of about 50 members that will unroll and wave the 90-foot American flag for the “Star Spangled Banner.”

That’s just one of his duties. Mejia may have one of the longer titles in sports: “fan development international outreach manager” for both the Seahawks and Sounders FC. (The soccer team is partly owned by Seahawks owner Paul Allen.)

Mike Flood, Seahawks’ community-relations vice president, said Mejia is the team’s liaison to military and the Latino communities.
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