Saint Leo Student-Veteran-Athlete and Fellow Marine to Appear on Fox News This Sunday
February 27, 2015
Saint Leo University men’s lacrosse defender Chris Burke (pictured), a junior majoring in multimedia management from Virginia Beach, VA, and Corporal Larry Bailey II, with whom he served with in Afghanistan, will appear on the nationally broadcast Fox & Friends Weekend on the Fox News Network this Sunday morning, March 1, tentatively at 7:30 a.m. (set your DVRs from 6 to 10 a.m.). They will discuss their special personal relationship, veteran services, and the charity lacrosse game played Friday night in St. Augustine, FL.
Playing a Game with a Purpose
This evening, the men’s lacrosse team will host No. 2 LIU Post at 7:30 p.m. in a neutral site game at St. Augustine High School. The charity game will support the Wounded Warrior Project and is the team’s first Wounded Warrior game. The opponent is the 2014 NCAA runner-up, and the game will honor our nation’s bravest. Founded in 2003, the Wounded Warrior Project helps wounded service members in the armed forces. Its motto is “The Greatest Casualty Is Being Forgotten.”
Lions men’s lacrosse head coach Brad Jorgensen said Friday’s event will be an opportunity for the team to give the Wounded Warrior Project and a human face.
“If we’re going to be a part of this game, we want to do it the right way,” Jorgensen said. “Everybody conceptually understands doing charity work, doing community service, but it’s a whole different experience when you get to put a name, a face, a person, with what you’re doing.”
A Day They Will Remember Forever
Nearly four years ago, Burke enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. On June 28, 2011, he was assigned to attach to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Corps Regiment 2nd Platoon as a combat photographer. The platoon was on patrol in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan.
In Cpl. Burke’s first patrol with the 2nd Platoon, the unit was ambushed and encountered two improvised explosive devices (IEDs). “I knew these men for one day, and I am going to remember them for the rest of my life,” said Cpl. Burke.
One of the platoon members was Cpl. Larry Bailey, who ran to a rooftop to provide cover for his unit, which was under heavy fire. Cpl. Bailey knelt down on what was believed to be a pressure plate IED. The explosion sent Cpl. Burke into a wall, but he was uninjured. As a result of the explosion and his extensive injuries, Cpl. Bailey was left as a triple amputee.
Cpl. Burke tended to his fellow Marine as quickly as possible. He and other platoon members put tourniquets around his wounds, then placed him on a ladder with another Marine and carried him to the evacuation point. That was the last time that Cpl. Burke saw Cpl. Bailey. “When we put him on the helicopter, we didn’t know if he was going to make it,” Burke stated.
Two Purple Hearts, One Reunion
Cpl. Bailey did make it. On Thursday, February 26, he reunited for the first time since that fateful day with one of the men that saved his life, Cpl. Chris Burke. The reunion, orchestrated by Saint Leo University Veteran Student Services and Saint Leo men’s lacrosse, resulted in two Purple Heart recipients shaking hands with mutual respect and admiration. Only they knew the true magnitude of what it meant to be standing side-by-side at midfield at University Turf Stadium.
Cpl. Bailey to Serve as Honorary Coach
Tonight, Cpl. Bailey will be on the sidelines for the Saint Leo men’s lacrosse team’s Wounded Warrior Project charity game. Cpl. Bailey will serve as an honorary coach and will be recognized in a special pre-game ceremony.
Saint Leo University Veteran Student Services has purchased special camouflage coaching shirts to wear in honor of this cause.