Friends of Francona program honors veteran Jake Kucbel at Sunday’s game
Continuing with our Friends of Francona program, we had Air Force Veteran Jake Kucbel here on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Jake Kucbel proudly served in the United States Air Force, stationed at Beale Air Force Base in California, from 2000 until 2004. In September of 2001, Jake was scheduled to come home to Ohio for his 22nd birthday, but his plans were quickly changed when he was called to duty just days after September 11, 2001. During his time in combat, Jake received many awards including the Air Force Achievement Medal, Nato Medal, Global War on Terror Service and Expeditionary Medal, and Southwest Asia Service Medal.
Jake is a life-long Indians fan, living most of his life in Lorain and Amherst and says he’s been a fan since day one.
“I’ve lived around here my whole life, this is my team,” Jake said Sunday. He’s been to a number of games and recalls of the 2007 ALCS: “I’ve been to many games, but one of the latest games I’ve been to was ’07 in the ALCS, we were up 3 games to 1 against Boston, this experience today though is incredible.”
Jake is a service-connected disabled Veteran. After returning stateside from his tours of duty, Jake began experiencing severe migraines. He suffers from these migraines every day of his life. Often, these migraines impact daily activities and can be especially difficult in day to day life.
Jake works full time as a Corporate Quality Engineer at PolyOne in Avon and attends graduate school at Ashland University. He and his wife care for their four children Emma (age 6), Jonathan (age 4), Olivia (age 2), and Nicholas (age 5 months).
Being at the park with his family today was special to Jake.
“My wife put this together…I was just looking forward to coming to the ballpark with my children, and after the game to go play catch on the field which was just fantastic,” he said. “But with this not only is my family here, but my brother’s here, her brother’s here, everyone’s here, so it’s a great family affair.”
Jake couldn’t have beeen more excited when he got the news of what was happening today.
“We walked into the stadium and I didn’t even know! It wasn’t until we saw other people show up that I was asking why are my parents here? They told me they were going golfing today!….They got me pretty good!”
The Friends of Francona program looks to honor deserving Tribe fans with 10 free tickets to the Club Lounge (all food and soft drinks included in the price of the ticket) as well as $20 fun money on each ticket. The program was started by Indians Manager Terry Francona in 2013 with everything paid for in full by Tito and WTAM.
-TribeVibe Contributor, Ryan Delgado