Manchester VA nurse in running to throw out first pitch at Red Sox gameBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader April 22. 2018 9:21PM
MANCHESTER — A nurse with the Manchester VA Medical Center needs your help — more specifically, your votes — to earn the right to throw out the first pitch at an upcoming Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston.
Jeffery Ballard is an RN with Manchester VA Medical Center’s Home Based Primary Care team. He is also a veteran, having served as a member of the Army National Guard for nearly 20 years.
Just a few months after getting married in 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as an Infantry Medic. He was injured while serving in combat, and after several surgeries and months of physical therapy, Ballard was able to return to bedside nursing after being home for 14 months.
“After I came home from serving in Afghanistan, I returned to my civilian life and emergency nursing,” said Ballard. “I wasn’t ready. I struggled with PTSD, and I wasn’t even sure about remaining a nurse. Manchester VA and the VetCenter helped me to feel at ease, and get the care I needed. After I had recovered, I decided to stay with nursing and joined the VA because I wanted other veterans to have the same comfort I experienced.”
Ballard has been with the VA for nearly 5 years now and has flourished there, according to a Facebook post from the Manchester VA Medical Center. “While all nurses are compassionate and go above and beyond, his wife says that Jeff and his dedication to his patients and fellow nurses is one of a kind.”
Ballard works in a case management-type role and serves in a program that helps elderly veterans maintain their independence.
“These are vulnerable veterans that could end up in nursing homes without nurses like Jeff,” reads the social media posting. “You can again hear the passion in Jeff’s voice and see the spark in his eyes when he talks about the work that he does. Because he is also a combat veteran who has seen unimaginable horrors, the older veterans, and especially the Vietnam veterans take to Jeff quickly and they form a bond of trust that really helps them both heal.”
On Boston Red Sox Nurse Appreciation Night, Nurse.org and the Red Sox will recognize 10 nurses during a pre-game ceremony on May 15 at Fenway Park. Nurse.org selected 10 nominees out of more than 1,400 submissions to be honored at the game, and the nurse who gets the most votes will throw out the first pitch.
Ballard was nominated by his wife, and he has been selected as one of the top 10 nurses being considered to be the official Red Sox Nurse Hero.
“I want to thank my wife for her amazing support of me, both during and after my deployment,” writes Ballard on his Facebook page. “Life wasn’t easy for her and she experienced some rough times, but she stood by me and supported my healing. Now she has nominated me for this and I would love your help to make this dream come true.”
To vote for Jeffery Ballard, and read more about his story:
- Go to this site: https://nurse.org/articles/boston-red-sox-nurse-hero-contest/
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
- Select “Jeffrey Ballard”
- Enter your email address to be counted.