Monday, many Grand Valley fans celebrated their holiday out on the baseball diamond. But for one Grand Junction family, going to JUCO this Memorial Day takes on an extra special meaning.
Lance Corporal Brett Ross came back to the U.S. last month after completing a tour of duty in Iraq.
He says he and his family have come to JUCO every year since he was four and that it's always been the highlight of his year. After having to miss it last year because of his military duties, he says he leaped at the opportunity when he found out he could come home just in time to see it this year.
The sign on his house reads "Welcome Home Brett Ross." So as the U.S. Marine gets ready for the day, he says he's going to the place where he feels most at home -- The Junior College World Series.
"You gotta remember your ticket," said Ross, as he walked out his front door. "Just get ready for the day and make sure you got the sunblock."
As Ross makes his way through the entrance gates at Suplizio Field, he says he can't hold his excitement in.
"I've been coming to JUCO since I was knee high to a grasshopper, just a little guy," said Ross. "Pretty much as long as I can remember I've been a JUCO fan."
After looking back on the past year, he says he's glad he can take same time to be just that. During this time last year, he was called away for training.
"It was terrible," said Ross. "I was stuck in Twenty-Nine Palms, California. It was a hundred and twenty some degrees and it was miserable. All I wanted to do was be at home and watch JUCO."
Then in October, Ross and his infantry unit were deployed to Iraq. He says they spent time in the Anbar province, patrolling the deserts for weapons smugglers, raiding houses looking for suspected terrorists, and dodging enemy fire.
"We did good," said Ross. "We got a lot accomplished."
It's something both he and his family are very proud of this Memorial Day.
"I just felt like I needed to do something for my country," said Ross. "I was always raised really patriotic."
"It really makes me remember all those that have been serving in the past and have sacrificed quite a bit," said Cheryl Ross, Brett's mother. "I have a better understanding of that now."
Surrounded by friends and family at Monday's game, Ross says he's glad he gets to spend what little time he has here before returning to base coming to the place he loves.
"JUCO has been like my Christmas every year," said Ross.
"It is so much fun and it's been such a family tradition for us so it's really great," said Cheryl Ross. "I know this means a lot to him."
To thank him for his service, JUCO organizers are letting Ross throw out the first pitch at Monday night's game.
"It's kind of like holding the key to Grand Junction in my opinion," said Ross. "That's just amazing."
To make it even more special, Monday night's game features Ross' favorite team of the tournament, Shelton State Community College.