Baseball
    Vahn Bozoian Knocks Service Out of the Park
    Vahn Bozoian chats with a veteran at the VA Hospital last December.
    Vahn Bozoian chats with a veteran at the VA Hospital last December.

    Jan. 7, 2014

    Donning his gold jersey with a cardinal "14" on the back, USC's sophomore right fielder hands a plate of food to a Navy veteran in a wheel chair. The man makes a joke about not having the funds to tip his waiter, and the athlete laughs, pats him on the back, and returns to the kitchen for another plate.

    The West Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, where Vahn Bozoian and his teammates visited patients in December, sits so close to the home field of a certain school in Westwood, California that it could almost be hit by a long home run. But despite the rivalry, USC's team made their annual appearance at the VA holiday celebration, wearing "Trojans" proudly on their chest.

    This type of community visit is nothing new for Bozoian. During the fall semester, he logged 15 hours of community service through five different projects which brought his team and the Trojan colors all over Los Angeles.

    Entering his second year as a student and athlete at USC, Bozoian has become a team leader already, both on and off the diamond. Last semester he helped spearhead several projects, leading to an astounding 507 hours served by the baseball team in only three months. Thanks to Bozoian and his dedicated teammates, the group has become the most active participants in the USC Athletics Community Outreach Program with near perfect attendance at five of the major outreach events and an average of 12 hours per athlete.

    "These events are a great opportunity to be able to give back with the team," said Bozoian, whose personality and leadership transfer into a clubhouse presence. Last season as a true freshman, Bozoian appeared in 33 games, making 27 starts. He finished with a .224 batting average, belting 11 RBIs and 2 home runs.

    Well before their December visit to the VA, Bozoian and his team jumpstarted their semester of outstanding service by attending the 2nd Annual Rose Cup Tournament benefiting breast cancer. In October, they hosted a game booth at a local Halloween carnival which provided community children a safe trick-or-treat environment. The team closed out the fall by painting murals and planting gardens at 32nd Street Elementary School. Perhaps most notably, this semester the men of Trojan baseball have dedicated their time to maintaining an ongoing SCORE partnership with the Best Buddies organization for kids with mental disabilities.


     

     

    When asked about what he gained from serving the veterans last December, Bozoian continued to deflect attention from himself. "Being a good sport and an all-around good person is something that these veterans show us how to do, both on and off the field," said Bozoian.

    When reviewing the fall semester of USC Baseball, it becomes clear why their right fielder chuckled at a joke about receiving a tip for his service. This group of men does not volunteer for money or recognition, but rather to embody the ideals sewn into that bright gold jersey.