GLADSTONE - Staff Sgt. William Hess of Gladstone is about to make his country proud once again. But it will be on a different field tonight than the one he's used to. Hess was recently notified by Major League Baseball he had been selected to represent the Colorado Rockies in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game in the People Magazine Tribute For Heroes.
Each major league team selects one representative from all the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces.
"You have to get nominated," Hess said from Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo. "My wife nominated me, then they went through the applicants.
"I was notified in the beginning of June that I was in the top three. Then, over the next three weeks, there was a voting process and it came down to one winner per team."
Hess had been stationed in Germany for nine years before being transferred to Fort Carson. He has served 10 years in the U.S. Army, which includes two tours in Iraq and a tour in Afghanistan.
According to information on MLB.com, "Hess' primary job is to find and destroy IEDs (improvised explosive devices) to clear the way for follow-on forces.
"In August 2011, after roadside bombs struck three vehicles, William disregarded his own safety, and while under enemy fire, rushed to the aid of wounded soldiers."
Before tonight's game, Hess will be honored along with the other representatives at the home of the New York Mets, Citi Field.
Hess departed for New York Saturday and was set to be welcomed at the MLB All Star Charity Concert benefiting Hurricane Sandy relief in Central Park, featuring the New York Philharmonic and Mariah Carey.
Hess was to have a chance to tour the 9/11 Museum and enjoy a VIP reception and gala at the Intrepid.
Tuesday afternoon, Hess will be introduced during the Red Carpet Show - a parade in which one float for American League Heroes and one float for National League Heroes will lead the MLB players.
After dinner at the Mets Cafe, Hess will be honored during the pregame ceremony before enjoying the game from a suite.
Hess was also invited to the All-Star Game press conference and the Home Run Derby before departing back to base.
"I really wasn't expecting this," Hess said. "It's a pretty good feeling and it was a surprise. I'm definitely happy to experience it all."
Hess said in addition to hearing from friends and family, his selection was also big news on base.
"I was in California training during the voting process, but there were personnel people who could vote and there was a lot of support," Hess said.
Hess is a member of Charlie Company SBD Second Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, at Fort Carson. He is a 2001 graduate of Gladstone High School.