Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mellor Off Camera

          In the photo above Red Sox groundskeeper Dave Mellor stands next to E:60 producer Heather Lombardo.   It was a Saturday morning in late April, as Lombardo interviewed Mellor on his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after 37 surgeries.  The photo shows a mutually respectful producer and interview subject.   What it does not show, due to Mellor’s jacket, is a bracelet on his wrist.
          Off camera, Mellor told the story.   It was about a fallen soldier, Corporal Jessy Pollard, of Springfield, Mass., who was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq in 2007.
          Mellor said that he proudly wears a KIA (killed in action) bracelet for Pollard.  Army Sgt. Lucas Carr gave it to Mellor after the Run to Home Base fundraiser at the ballpark in May 2011.
          “He said that if I wear it Jessy will look out over me and help me in my challenging times,” Mellor recalled.  “That was an amazingly powerful experience for me.  Waves of emotion washed over me.  I went into my office and called my wife and cried.”
          When he returned to the field a familiar ESPN cameraman saw him rub the bracelet and asked him about it. As Mellor related the story about Pollard, a helicopter flew above the ballpark, and hovered over home plate.
          The cameraman, who filmed military events, identified it as a Black Hawk helicopter, with sonar and radar, instead of guns.  Pollard had gone down in a Black Hawk.
          “I looked up and took a deep breath -- chills ran up and down my spine,” Mellor recalled.  “In my 29 years working on fields in stadiums I had never before seen any type of helicopter hover over home plate -- never before, and never since.
          “I really believe that was a sign from Jessy and a higher power that I am not alone and there will be strength when I need it.  I continue to proudly wear his bracelet every day and feel its power.”

(Posted by Steve Marantz on May 14, 2013) 

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