CARMEL VALLEY — Three Navy SEALs dropped into the Cathedral Catholic High School football stadium March 23, highlighting the second annual Military Appreciation Day and raising funds for The Warrior Foundation.
Descending from 7,000 feet, Chief Special Warfare Operator Brad Woodard, Chief Warrant Officer Keith Pritchett and SEAL Justin Gonzales, members of the U.S. Navy parachute team known as The Leap Frogs, landed on the field just before 7 p.m., in between lacrosse games.
The Cathedral Catholic boys and girls lacrosse teams launched the event last year to support The Warrior Foundation, which assists military members who are seriously injured and just returning home from war, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, undergoing physical or occupational therapy or have been medically retired and remain in the local community.
The second annual event began with the Dons girls defeating Santa Fe Christian, 14-7. After the game, the Rev. Brian Kelly, the school chaplain who served 24 years with the Navy, provided an invocation, which was followed by a Presentation of the Colors from Camp Pendleton Marines.
The Leap Frogs then exited their plane and maneuvered toward each other to create various formations in the air.
As the SEALs neared the field, Mary Grace Sumner, a Cathedral junior from Vista, sang the national anthem just as the last jumper unfurled an American flag.
The event also included the introduction of area resident Nick Wallace as the honorary captain of the Dons boys lacrosse team, which went on to beat Canyon Crest Academy, 18-4.
Nick, 13, underwent a liver transplant in September 2012 after being diagnosed with biliary atresia, a condition that blocks the bile duct and causes liver failure.