Wounded veteran surprised at Royals game with new car

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An Olathe Purple Heart recipient got quite the surprise in between innings of Monday night's Royals game at Kauffman Stadium.

During every game the Royals honor a veteran or active duty member of the military. Retired Sgt. Jay Erwin thought that’s why he was asked to attend the game, but it turned out he was getting a lot more than just applause.

Erwin was deployed to Iraq in 2006 when his platoon came under attack near Baghdad. He needed emergency surgery for the shrapnel wounds to his face, neck, and extremities. He'd later require reconstructive surgeries of his ankle and hand.

The Wichita, Kansas native now lives in Olathe with his wife and 1-year old son.

“It was my pleasure to serve and get in front of the enemy and protect my country," U.S. Army Sgt. (Ret) Jay Erwin said.

“I think he’s a typical veteran that loves and cares for this country," said Colonel Ret. Doc Ballard of AMVETS Post 181 said.

Erwin was at The K Monday night, waving and smiling while he was introduced to fans, but had trouble hearing the surprise the public address announcer had for him.

“All surprises are good, this one has to be really good," said Karl Kramer, President of the Kansas City Area Chevy Deal Ad Group. "He’s here thinking he’s going to be recognized for service to his country instead we are going to provide him with a brand new 2018 Malibu on behalf of the Chevy Malibu dealers.”

“That’s all they really told me, I look over and there’s a key sitting in front of me and a brand new Malibu, what do you say to that you are just completely surprised," said Erwin.

Minutes later Erwin had a chance to get behind the wheel of his new car, he’ll receive payment free with all taxes paid.

“This is a once in a lifetime experience and I just want to appreciate it and thank everyone that’s been involved with it," he said.

Erwin said he hopes he can use publicity from the surprise to spread the word about an organization he works with called "The Gallant Few." The orgnaization helps veterans coming home to make a smoother transition into civilian life.