Seventy-one years ago this month, Mary Ballard was a nurse aboard one of the first flights transporting veterans who had been wounded on D-day back to the United States.
Many of them, she said, were amputees.
Besides medicine, "all I had to give them on that long flight was a little bit of water," she recalled. "They didn't get a bit of food. Those were before the days of pressurized cabins."
Ballard, 95, of Lexington, threw out the first pitch as part of Military Appreciation Night at Saturday night's Lexington Legends game.
Dressed in a pink skirt and Nike tennis shoes, Ballard crossed the field to give the ball a solid overhand toss.
"I hope it was all right," she later said of the experience.
She had gotten a few pointers ahead of time from Rick Pounds, a trainer whose wife, Nancy, provides physical therapy for Ballard to help her stay in shape.
She lives independently and walks a mile a few times a week.
"She's a tough little lady," Nancy Pounds said. "You don't get to be 95 years old without having some kind of resolve."
Ballard's family said it was the first time she had been publicly honored for her service.
The World War II veteran enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served until 1948, when she married an Army doctor, Joseph A. Ballard.
On Saturday, she was trailed by an entourage of children, grandchildren and other relatives wearing yellow hatbands with "MomMom" — her grandchildren's name for her — written on them.
Ballard said she wasn't big on ceremonies, but she was proud to have been asked.
She was a celebrity among fans at the game. Many people simply wanted to clasp her hand and thank her for her service.
One woman asked Ballard if she was overwhelmed by all the activity.
Ballard didn't miss a beat: "I have eight children," she replied.