Local veteran to be honored at Sunday's Baltimore Ravens game
Steve Weaver, a Marine Corps veteran from McSherrystown, has two Purple Hearts as well as a soft spot for the black and purple.
Coincidentally, the 71-year-old was to be recognized for his military experience and dedication to the Baltimore Ravens at the team's playoff game against the the San Diego Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday, Jan. 6.
"It was a little bit of a surprise," Weaver said. "I don't like to toot my horn, but it's a nice honor. I'm pretty proud of that, and I'm honored to do this."
Weaver served as a corporal for the 0311 infantry riflemen in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1968.
In July 1967, he was hit by shrapnel while on a mission just 20 miles south of Hanoi.
Then, just two months later, a fellow Marine stepped on a mine during a mission, killing two and injuring Weaver, who later had his right arm amputated.
"It ripped me up pretty bad," he said.
After spending 14 months in naval hospitals, Weaver was honorably discharged and received Purple Hearts for both of the events.
After his military service, Weaver worked at the Caterpillar Inc. Distribution Center in Springettsbury Township for three decades before retiring in 1998.
The Adams County native, despite living more than 50 miles from Baltimore, was named a "Hometown Hero" at Sunday's Ravens game.
Veterans are honored during each home game, where they receive sideline tickets and deliver the game ball to the NFL referees before the game. A video presentation detailing Weaver's experiences also was to be played at halftime.
Although he considers himself a huge Ravens fan, Weaver said he doesn't think he's a hero.
"I don't consider myself a hero," Weaver said.
"The heroes are on the wall in Washington, D.C.," he added, referring to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which bears the names of more than 58,000 Americans who lost their lives while serving during the conflict.
Weaver said he was always a football fan, but he fell in love with the Ravens after they moved from Baltimore's Memorial Stadium to M&T Bank Stadium, next to Camden Yards, in 1998.
He started buying season tickets that year and has attended every home game but one since then. He also is the president of the Hanover Ravens Roost, a regional fan club.
His son, Stephen Weaver, said his father deserves to receive the award presented by his favorite team.
"He deserves this Hometown Hero award because he never expects any praise or recognition for serving his country," he said. "He’s lived with a disability most of his life, but he’s no different than any other Dad out there. I’m so proud to be his son."
The Ravens-Chargers game will begin at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. Weaver will be at the stadium watching the game as well as participating in the pre-game and halftime activities in his honor.
— Logan Hullinger can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.