Navy Veteran and New UBalt Student Jesse Francis to Throw Out First Pitch at July 23 Orioles Home Game
July 21, 2021
Contact: Office of Advancement and External Relations
Jesse Francis, a Navy veteran and a newly enrolled student at The University of Baltimore, will be recognized for his service when he throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the Friday, July 23 home game of the Baltimore Orioles. Francis, who is already finding supportive friends and colleagues at the University's acclaimed Bob Parsons Veterans Center, will be joined at the game by Brooks, WBAL-TV 11 News' "Puppy With a Purpose" and a future service dog for the America's Vet Dogs organization.
Francis (left in photo, alongside fellow student Tyler Walch and Parsons Veterans Center Director Josiah Guthland) tells WBAL that he learned about America's Vet Dogs while at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.
"Honestly it's hard to describe, there were so many emotions. Really hard to understand how I could be so lucky to get something so wonderful," Francis says. "Do I deserve this? I hear other people's stories and I see other people and I'm like, 'Hey, maybe I don't have as many issues as you. Am I worthy of this?' And I hope that I can live up to Brooks' hype, because obviously he has a huge fan club."
After a period of training with the dog—who is named for O’s great Brooks Robinson—Francis is now providing full-time care for him.
Josiah Guthland, director of The Bob Parsons Veteran Center, says Francis is a welcome addition to the center's growing presence at UBalt.
"I am excited to have Jesse and Brooks with us at UBalt this fall. They will be an excellent addition to The Bob Parsons Veteran Center community," Guthland says. "Brooks may very well be the most popular member of our campus. It is also important that we recognize this initiative that is vital to supporting our veteran community."
Learn more about Brooks and the Puppy with a Purpose program.
Learn more about The Bob Parsons Veterans Center.