After a six-month deployment aboard the USS Boxer, Navy Lt. Jeremy Taylor, 31, got a hero’s welcome Monday, surprising his daughters as they threw the first pitch at a Corpus Christi Hooks game at Whataburger Field.
Under the guise of “Blue Jays Night,” Bella, 6, and Maddy, 4, threw one of the ceremonial first pitches as representatives from their school, St. Pius X Catholic School in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Their father, disguised in a Hooks uniform and catcher’s mask, was behind home plate. After making their throws, Jeremy Taylor took off his mask and his daughters got their first look at their father since he left home in August.
As his two daughters began to run from the mound into his arms, Taylor said he only had one emotion: happy.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Jeremy Taylor. “Never in my wildest dreams.”
Jeremy Taylor credited his wife and the Hooks organization for making it happen.
“People always thank the soldiers, but it’s the families that do all the hard work.”
His wife, Becca Taylor, 26, said she was thrilled the Hooks were so accommodating. She said they have had season passes since their daughters were born, so it was a perfect place for them to come together again as a family.
“I love baseball,” Becca Taylor said. “I was raised in Corpus Christi. It’s my No. 1 sport.”
Becca Taylor said this was the third and toughest deployment the family has gone through. She said on previous deployments her husband was able to call or video chat. This time, their communication was limited to mostly email as he sailed the seas around China, the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s tough for the girls not having their daddy there for the day to day things,” she said.
Her husband got back into town Saturday, and has been staying with friends so he wouldn’t spoil the surprise for their daughters.
Becca Taylor said she was inspired by Super Bowl commercials that celebrated military heroes, and wanted to see if her husband could get a similar welcome home. She said after making a couple of calls to different organizations, the Hooks got back to her right away.
“I’m shocked and completely grateful and appreciative for all that the Hooks have done for us,” she said. “The whole community has just been awesome.”