BOSTON -- U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Penman has been stationed in Devens for the past two years, but he is not originally from Massachusetts.
Penman hails from Ogden Utah, where he grew up as a fan of the Oakland Athletics. But, while stationed in Devens, he took a liking to the Boston Red Sox.
Penman was honored by the Red Sox in the fourth inning of last Monday's game against the Texas Rangers. Penman was selected as part of the team's "Hats off to Heroes" program -- but, this is not the first time he has received this accolade.
"Ms. (Sandy) Burson, the headquarters secretary asked me if I could provide a bio about myself, and I was selected," Staff Sgt. Penman said. "I was honored by the team for the same reason last year. I was getting ready to (leave) for Oregon. She called me and asked if I wanted to do it. It's pretty rare to do it twice."
The lifelong Athletics fan has a special place in his heart for Fenway Park.
"I am a pretty big Red Sox fan now," he said. "Fenway is the nicest ballpark in the country -- it is amazing. I love that place. I have been multiple times since I have been stationed in Devens."
Staff Sgt. Penman was ushered down behind the home dugout prior to the end of the fourth inning. The Fenway Park attendant helped Penman climb atop of the Red Sox dugout, where he received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd. The Staff Sgt. name flashed in big letters across the Jumbotron in center field, and the ballpark erupted.
"To get up to the dugout, they kind of hide us in a corner around the third inning," he said.
"It's a big hustle as they move us on top of the dugout at the end of the fourth inning. And, afterwards we go back to our seats -- they gave us some pretty decent seats in box 93. When I walked back up, people were treating us like rock stars. When I walked back up to my seats, I was greeted with another standing ovation. I was a little bit blown away by that. It is really nice to see such a warm reception from a community."
While at Devens, Staff Sgt. Penman taught advanced leadership classes and automotive technology to the 91st Bravo and Charlie divisions.
Staff Sgt. Penman is not only talking about the reception he was given at Fenway, but that of the people of Ayer. For the last two years, Staff. Sgt. Penman has been a regular patron at Carlins Tavern in Ayer's Depot Square.
"I have been in Ayer for two years, and I am getting ready to move to Oregon," he said. " I have (moved) so many times in the Army, but I have never been sad to leave a place until leaving Ayer."