First pitch from a hero

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - October 1, 2008 But not all of the drama happened during those nine innings.

Before the game, Philadelphia Police Officer Richard Bowes threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Bowes was shot last week in the same incident in which Officer Patrick McDonald was killed.

Today, the 35-year-old officer, along with his young son, made their way onto the field in Citizens Bank Park.

"I've been a life-long Phillies fan, and this is a dream come true," Bowes said. "I just want to thank everyone out there for all of their thoughts and prayers. But the real hero in this is Pat McDonald and I want everyone to continue to pray for Pat and his family so they can get through this."

McDonald was the patrol sergeant who was murdered by the same suspect who, moments later, shot Officer Bowes.

Bowes retuned fire, killing the suspect.

Speaking publically for the first time since the incident, he expressed overwhelming gratitude for another chance to be a husband and father to his lovely wife and three children.

"I have a second lease on life. I makes you appreciate waking up every day. I love my family, I love my kids," Bowes said.

Now Bowes, a one time pitcher at North Catholic High, admits to cheating up on the plate.

Because of his injury, of course.

"I'm not getting up on the mound, I'll stay in front of the mound, just in case anything bad happens!" Bowes said.

After Bowes' pitch, former Phillie Mitch Williams threw a pitch himself. Afterward, Williams gave Bowes the jersey off his back.

After he left the field, Bowes offered words of encouragement to his brothers and sisters in blue.

"Don't ever give up, you've just got to keep plugging away. Every guy in my unit, every gun in highway patrol would have done the same thing I did. It was just my turn that day, but for anyone out there: Don't give up," said Bowes.

Bowes is expected to fully recover from his injuries.

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