PUBLISHED: June 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm | UPDATED: June 17, 2017 at 6:21 am
Congressman Raul Ruiz wore a Hemet High School baseball uniform when he played in the annual Congressional baseball game Thursday, June 15 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Ruiz, D-La Quinta, was the lead-off hitter for the Democrats and played second base. He hit a single in his first at bat, stole second base and scored the first run of what became an 11-2 victory for the Democrats.
It's a great bipartisan tradition I look forward to every year #CongressionalBaseballGame
Ruiz wears a jersey from one of the schools in his Congressional district each year to honor the students, spokeswoman Alex Macfarlane wrote in an email.
“In particular, this year he picked Hemet to honor the former students of the school whose lives were lost in Iraq and Afghanistan,” she wrote. “He plans on presenting the jersey to the school in a ceremony later this year.”
With five lives lost, Hemet High has had more graduates killed in the conflicts in the Middle East than any other high school in Riverside County. At one point, it had given more of its graduates in the line of duty than any school nationally.
The run-up to the game was marred by a shooting the previous day during the Republican team’s practice that injured Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others.
Ruiz sent out a message of unity before the game.
“We’re going to come together and symbolize that we should not live our lives in fear and also that we should display unity and our humanity,” he said.
Ruiz said while it’s OK to disagree, violence is not an answer.
“It’s not OK to turn the argument to hatred and attack one another violently,” Ruiz said.
Posted by Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD
Hemet High graduates killed in conflicts in the Middle East
Name: Keith Yoakum
Class of: 1984
Killed: Feb. 2, 2007
Rank: Army Chief Warrant Officer
Circumstances: Killed in helicopter crash in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom
Name: Kenny Stanton
Class of: 2004
Killed: Oct. 13, 2006
Rank: Army Cpl.
Circumstances: Killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom when an IED exploded near his vehicle in Baghdad
Name: Charles Sare
Class of: 2001
Killed: Oct. 23, 2006
Rank: Navy Hospitalman
Circumstances: Killed during combat in Sadah during Operation Iraqi Freedom
Name: Michael Estrella
Class of 2003
Killed: June 14, 2006
Rank: Marine Cpl.
Circumstances: Killed during combat in Hadithah during Operation Iraqi Freedom
Name: Jason Chappell
Class of 2000
Killed: Jan. 24, 2004
Rank: Army Specialist
Circumstances: Killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom when an IED exploded near his vehicle in Khalidiyah