US Open & Military Appreciation

Andy Roddick & Ryan McIntosh, Army Specialist and “Ball Boy.” Photo by Ron Angle.

As of this morning, there are 2 American single players remaining in the U.S. Open, Williams and Roddick. Our Dad’s Flag has had some great USTA visits but who knew our visit with Andy Roddick had an even more magnificent story behind it?! When we first posted the news of Our Dad’s Flag with Roddick we had no idea that the picture we received of him and his “U.S. Open Friend” was with a soldier and so much more . . .

Ryan McIntosh is an Army active duty amputee who is serving as a ball person at the US Open — a wounded warrior currently making $7.75 per hour as part of the action and is an inspiration for all. In his regular duties, Ryan is an adaptive sports coordinator in the Army, helping wounded soldiers survive and recover through sports. According to our USTA sources, Andy Roddick asked to meet Ryan after his press conference — announcing his career retirment (!) — and then thanked Ryan for his service and presented him with a US Open watch.  Robin Jones, USTA National Military Programs and Facilities Consultant, says it was a very touching moment.

Specialist Ryan McIntosh lost his leg, mid-shin, when he stepped on a land mine near Kandahar, Afghanistan two years ago. Back at home, his family including his young pregnant wife probably displayed their own Blue Star Service Flags.

In his recovery and with an incredible spirit, this purple heart recipient now participates in the Warrior Games, Olympic-style competitions for wounded veterans. He is also part of the USTA Military Outreach program.

Throwing Greneades = Tossing Tennis Balls

Roddick & McIntosh with Our Dad’s Flag. Photo courtesy of R. Jones.

In the latest match, Ryan was the ball boy in Serena Williams’ unheralded 6-0, 6-0 score against Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova.   This ball boy retrieved and more imporantly threw — since greneade throwing is a skill set — with great ability and precision required on the court. Our nation should be honored and thrilled Ryan McIntosh is  part of the Open.  For more information about Ryan read about him in the Washington PostNew York Daily News or just Google his name and see how this special story has gained international attention.

Our 2 remaining American single players (including soon-to-retire Roddick) will soon walk out on the courts, hoping for another title. For Ryan McIntosh, the day he walked the fields of Afghanistan, he gained his own title, “Warrior.” Let’s all never take a day for granted walking on the grounds of democracy and freedom. Ryan, thank you for being such an incredible source of inspriation — and a very special husband and dad too!  

Military Appreciation Day at the U.S. Open

We’re cheering for Andy Roddick at home and enjoying all the 2012 US Open!

Yesterday was a special day at the Open where wounded warriors and armed forces enjoyed tennis were appreciated! The USTA is an incredible organization who pays particular attention to military families and returning soldiers. Our host, Ms. Robin Jones plays a pivotal role in the programs for the military and we encourage you to check out their programs, spread the word and know that Tennis – via the U.S. Open – and all programs, make America great! Read their Summer 2012 Military Outreach Newsletter and visit their special USTA Military pages on the web.

Unfortunately, the weather might rain out some of the matches at the Open on Tuesday, September 4th. But our home team is cheering for Andy Roddick. Good luck and thanks again to you, Ryan McIntosh, Robin Jones and all the great folks at the USTA for taking part in Our Dad’s Flag!

Thanks for reading and following Our Dad’s Flag as it travels in support of our troops and promotes patriotism.  Pass it on, tweet all about it and enjoy the rest of the Open!

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