Jason Licht Gets A Purple HeartAugust 1st, 2014
Usually, Joe is a cranky cuss in the morning, especially if he had a couple of cold ones the night before, and certainly before his morning ration of caffeine has kicked in. That’s why Joe’s most emotional rants often happen first thing in the morning.
Today, there’s no room for being petty, at least not to start off this fine Friday. Joe stumbled across the following accidentally and was taken aback. Never heard of such a thing before.
Yesterday, the Bucs had a surprise visitor and no, it wasn’t Peter King of theMMQB.com, though he did show up. And, no, it wasn’t Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network, though he showed up, too.
The surprise visitor was a retired Marine, Joshua Frey (Joe isn’t sure Frey retired as a Marine, but Joe knows better than to refer to a Marine as “former.”). Frey, a hardcore Bucs fan, is a two-time Purple Heart recipient while serving in Iraq.
Frey gave one of his Purple Heart medals to Bucs general manager Jason Licht as a debt of gratitude of sorts for all the things the Bucs have done over the years to help and assist military service men and women. Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com has the rest.
“I’ve thought about this a lot since I got out – what can I give to help somebody else?” said Frey, who was wounded in 2004 and was eventually released from the hospital in 2008. “I’ve been a Bucs fan all my life and I decided I wanted to give this to somebody here with the Buccaneers. At first, [Licht] was like, ‘No, you’re not giving us your Purple Heart!’ He wanted to give it back to me but I wouldn’t take it. See, this is my way of healing, too. It’s not fun to get a Purple Heart, but it’s fun to give it to somebody else. It’s not about me… there are guys out there with Purple Heart medals, and that’s all they’ve got. They did heroic things and they just have one ribbon.
“It means a lot to me to show [Licht] that this is a ‘team’ thing, for the Buccaneers and for those of us who have served. The community is behind this team, and especially the veterans.”
Frey elected to join the Marines in 2003 as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. He was awarded his first Purple Heart in November of 2004 when he was knocked unconscious and suffered other wounds from an RPG blast. Less than a month later, he took his more serious wound when he got into a gunfight with an Iraqi soldier while clearing a house in Fallujah. The two combatants shot each other and Frey was dragged away by his fellow soldiers and loaded into a Humvee. He needed six blood transfusions to keep him alive and eventually underwent 22 operations. The nerve damage in his right arm makes it difficult for him to feel his fingers at times and to fully grip things.
A Bucs camera caught the exchange between Licht and Frey. You can see by Licht’s face how taken he was.
There really isn’t much to add to this other than it was an over-the-top gesture by Frey. A guy who gave so much to his country, and is still giving.
The only word Joe can think of is “class.”