Photo by Frank Prager
The officers of Alton VFW Post 1308 put together a softball game between active services members of the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. The game will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Gateway Grizzlies ballpark.
ALTON — Two softball teams will take the field Sunday with the shared goal of raising money for veterans programs and providing exciting entertainment for the entire family at the same time.
The Alton VFW Post 1308 is sponsoring a softball game among members of the Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force. The game will take place at 3 p.m. at the Gateway Grizzlies ballpark in Sauget and will be followed by food and a Grizzlies baseball game.
The event was put together by VFW member Wayne Able along with the officers of Post 1308.
“One of the softball teams will consist of members of the United States Marines and Navy,” Able said. “The other will be members of the Air Force and Army.”
The players all will be active service members.
Able explained the event’s purpose is to raise funds for veterans programs through the Gary Sinise Foundation. Fifty percent of the tickets sales will go toward food and refreshments for attendees while the other half will go directly to the foundation.
The foundation supports veterans both financially and through projects and activities. One of those activities is building custom-designed “smart” homes with automated features to ease the challenges of severely wounded veterans.
“One of the homes they built was for a severely burned veteran who could not tolerate sunlight on his skin,” Able said. “The home featured automated shutters that blocked out the sunlight during the day but opened at night so the veteran would not have to deal with avoiding certain parts of the house during the day.”
The foundation has programs that provide complete support to those recovering from trauma, injury and loss during times of urgent need. It also supports programs providing meals as well as entertainment to veterans free of charge.
Able pointed out the foundation also offers assistance through services that help veterans find jobs.
“They buy suits and clothes for veterans who are looking for work and need to be dressed appropriately for interviews,” he said.
Able said state Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) as well as state Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) were instrumental in the event.
“They helped a lot in providing their support to get the event scheduled,” he said.
Tickets will include the softball game and admission to a buffet meal afterward as well as the game that evening between the Grizzlies and the Normal Cornbelters. The buffet will be held immediately following the game, which will begin at 6:05 p.m.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling the Grizzlies box office at (618) 337-3000 or visiting gatewaygrizzlies.com. Tickets also are available the day of the game at the stadium gate.
Able said this is the event’s first year but he hopes to make it annual.
“People will have a lot of fun and it will help a really good cause,” he said.
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