DETROIT, Mich. -- Roughly 65,000 Detroit Lions fans gave Barry County First Sgt. Shawn Burch a standing ovation while celebrating his 20 years of service as a decorated soldier, honoring him as Hometown Hero during Thursday's Thanksgiving Day football game with the Philadelphia Eagles.
It was a special gift for fans of the Lions, who torched the Eagles 45-14. And in the third quarter of the game, Burch took the field where he was honored for his acts of bravery, service and injuries sustained during battle.
First Sgt. Burch's mother, Jan Elloston, who also lives east of Delton, said she was at a loss for words trying to articulate how special the ceremony was.
"To be here is amazing. I can't even describe it," said Elloston. "I'm so proud."
After first hearing about her son's award, Elloston reached out to FOX 17 hoping we would broadcast the ceremony, saying she couldn't afford to be at the game. FOX 17 contacted the Lions on Monday, and they paid for Elloston and her husband, Tim, to attend.
First Sgt. Burch has served in the Michigan Army National Guard for nearly 20 years. The Ellostons said walking alongside Burch's victories and pains of war made his award even more special.