Results tagged ‘ Military Appreciation ’
Last Friday, in honor of Armed Forces Month and as part of our monthly Braves Care front office staff volunteer initiative, we welcomed members of the Wounded Warrior Project, a veteran service organization for wounded veterans, to Turner Field for the 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Classic.
The Warriors arrived at the ballpark around 10 am for a VIP all-access tour of the Braves Museum, ballpark, press box and the Braves Clubhouse. Braves alumni, Johnny Estrada, surprised the warriors while they were exploring the Braves museum and joined them for the remainder of their tour. At the conclusion of their tour, the Warriors were joined by our front office staff and Delta Air Lines volunteers, who were waiting to serve and eat lunch with our special guests.
We had a couple other exciting surprises in store for the Warriors. Following lunch, we informed our guests that they would be going down on the field to take batting practice from home plate! They couldn’t hit live batting practice on a Major League baseball field with just any equipment, so we announced that Mizuno Baseball donated brand new equipment for them to use during this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Each Warrior walked away with their choice of a top of the line aluminum bat or baseball glove, a pair of batting gloves and batting helmet. With new equipment in hand, Braves staff and Delta employees escorted the Warriors down to the field for batting practice.
Once they took the field, Braves alumni Greg McMichael, Jim Nash, and Ron Reed joined Johnny Estrada as batting practice coaches for the Warriors.
Like the big leaguers do before each major league game, each Warrior had an opportunity to take about 10 hacks from the tortoise shell. When they weren’t hitting, they were able to run around in the outfield and shag fly balls with Braves staff while mingling with our alumni players.
Our Braves Alumni gladly signed autographs and took photos with the Warriors, and at the end of their visit, our special guests gathered by the Braves dugout for a group photo and final remarks.
It was an honor to have these exceptional men at Turner Field for a fun day with the Braves Staff!
To kick off Armed Forces Month, we dedicated our Braves Care front office volunteer event to our friends in the military by serving lunch at the USO of Georgia and by collecting items for troops returning home from overseas.
On Friday, May 1, we started our day off at the USO of Georgia facility at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport preparing for the arrival of new soldiers returning home from basic training. The USO of Georgia is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale, welfare and recreation services to military personnel and their families. They are open every day for soldiers who are passing through the Atlanta airport to stop in and have a hot meal and a quiet place to regroup. Every Friday, the USO anticipates the arrival of a few hundred brand new soldiers from Fort Benning in Columbus, GA headed to their next destination. These young men and women spend 14 weeks at basic training with little to no interaction with the outside world.
We were so excited when the first bus arrived that Friday morning from basic training, as we waited for them with “Welcome Home” signs. It was evident that they had not had access to electronics or the simplest things like caffeine as they rushed off the buses and straight to the newsstands in the airport to grab a soda and snacks. As we caught up with them, we directed them upstairs to the USO facility where Braves front office staff and Braves alumni, Johnny Estrada, were serving sandwiches for lunch. Johnny was happy to sign autographs for all of the service men and women and visit with them while they readjusted to civilian life.
As the facility filled up with young gentlemen in their dress blues, we unleashed another surprise on them… Braves player Jonny Gomes would also be joining them for lunch. Gomes accompanied by his wife Kristi, who happens to be a from military family, signed autographs and took photos. Many of the soldiers gathered in the USO conference room with Gomes and Estrada for a Q&A. The Gomes’ even delivered the cutest thank you cards for the soldiers that their kids made at home!
This was one of the most fun and rewarding Braves Care events, as we got to talk to and serve so many truly courageous young men.
In celebration of Armed Forces Month, that weekend we collected items outside of the ballpark for the USO to use at their facility. Fans brought everything from paper products and utensils to fruit snacks and granola bars. The USO uses all of these items to serve soldiers when they stop in on their journey either back home from deployment or to their next post from basic training.
We have the pleasure of partnering with the USO on different occasions throughout the year through our military outreach efforts, and we always enjoy working with them. For more information about how you can get involved in the USO’s outreach efforts, visit www.usogeorgia.org.
For the 5th year in a row, we continued our commitment of honoring local military families with our annual Holiday BaseBowl Bash. Over 100 servicemen and women along with their families were invited to participate in an afternoon of bowling, games, food and fun at Midtown Bowl on December 6.
Braves pitcher David Hale, pitching Coach Roger McDowell, Braves Alumni Marty Perez, Jim Nash, Johnny Estrada and Greg McMichael were there to spend some quality time with the families, sign autographs, and spread holiday cheer.
We kicked off the party with a special check presentation to five deserving military-supportive charities. Throughout the 2014 season, five Braves home games were dedicated to honoring the various branches of the military. The Braves players wore their red military appreciation jerseys during each of those games and their jerseys were then auctioned online to benefit the following charities: Wounded Warrior Project, BraveHeart: Welcome Back Veterans Southeast Initiative, United Military Care, SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center, and the USO. With the support from Braves Country, we were able to raise more than $27,000 for these groups!
Much to our surprise, the Atlanta Braves Foundation received a special recognition award our support from the USO President & CEO, Mary Lou Austin and Chairman General Tom Wessels.
After the formalities, bowling commenced and the fun began! Prizes were awarded to the top overall male and female scores. A special drawing was held for five lucky military members to bowl against five Braves in a “Jocks vs. Joes” bowling contest . It was a very close game, but this year, the Jocks escaped with the win!
This event was a success due in large part to the Braves front office staff and the Braves 400 Club members who volunteered and helped distribute goodie bags and various prizes that were awarded throughout the afternoon.
We love hosting this event each year because it allows us to thank the military service men and women, and their families, for all of their sacrifice and dedication to our great country.
The families were appreciative and thankful for the opportunity to participate. A special thanks goes out to Midtown Bowl for hosting us again this year as well as to our Braves fans for the continued support of the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Braves Foundation, and the support of our military.
Happy Holidays from our Braves Family to yours!
The Braves recently held a press conference to unveil a new military appreciation jersey that the team will wear this season.
Team President John Schuerholz, Braves Manger Fredi Gonzalez and first baseman Freddie Freeman unveiled the newest addition to the Braves on-field wardrobe. The Braves were honored to present the first of these authentic jerseys to General Jim Butterworth from the Georgia National Guard and Army veteran Vondell Brown of the Wounded Warrior Project.
The jersey will be worn for special home games when the team is honoring the nation’s service men and women. This new jersey is similar to the red jersey as seen in seasons past, however this it will feature white stars inside of the blue Braves logo across the chest and have an American flag patch on the left sleeve.
Authentic replica jerseys will also be sold at Turner Field and at the Clubhouse Store at the CNN Center with a portion of the proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We have always supported and recognized our armed forces through various events and community outreach initiatives,” Braves President John Schuerholz said. “By creating this new military appreciation jersey, we can bring more attention to them while also supporting very deserving organizations who will benefit from the auctions and sales of the jerseys.”
The team will wear these special jerseys during the following games:
April 26 vs. Cincinnati Reds – Military Family Night
June 13 Los Angeles Angels – United States Army Anniversary
July 26 San Diego Padres – United States Marines Celebration
August 30 Miami Marlins – United States Navy Celebration
September 19 New York Mets – United States Air Force Anniversary
Each game worn jersey will then be autographed by your favorite players and auctioned online to benefit our military partner charities including the USO, the Wounded Warrior Project, United Military Care, Inc., Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative and BraveHeart: Welcome Back Veterans Southeast Initiative.
Be sure to visit braves.com to place your bid and support our soldiers and their families!
On Saturday, May 18th the Atlanta Braves honored the United States Military and Armed Forces as they took on the Los Angeles Dodgers. The day included a pregame, VIP tour for a group of wounded military veterans and pregame ceremonies. For those not participating in the on-field and pregame activities, a ticket special was also offered to all of those who had a valid military ID.
As far as pregame ceremonies go, this one definitely gave those in attendance goosebumps. The Braves had over 100 military members holding an American flag across the outfield and lining the base paths with players from both the Braves and Dodgers for the National Anthem. Atlanta Braves game day staff that had served in the military held special stars representing each branch.
Along with providing these experiences, the Braves have partnered with Emory University to create BraveHeart. BraveHeart offers veterans and veteran families free mental health services including anonymous online screenings, educational outreach, and clinical care coordination for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These services have been made available for those in Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. These representatives were on site for Saturday’s game.
For more information on BraveHeart, check out the interview with Executive Director Dr. Barbara Rothbaum below or visit their website here!
The Atlanta Braves launched the 2013 Braves Country Caravan by traveling to various locations in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. Throughout this two week trip, the Braves players, coaches, alumni, broadcasters and staff made several community outreach stops along the way.
Two stops were special visits to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and to the University of Alabama’s Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. Braves players had an opportunity to play games and spend time with many of the children. The smiles on the faces of those kids spoke volumes to the impact that the Braves organization has on the southeast region of our country, better known as BRAVES COUNTRY!
Our stop at Clay National Guard, located at Dobbins Air Force Base, served as a special Braves send off for units preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. The team toured the joint operations center and saw how the National Guard helps respond to disasters in the Southeast, and then they made their way to the drill hall to greet a larger audience of soldiers and their families. The team was greeted by the 116th Army Guard Band playing the Braves chop and Take Me Out to the Ballgame, followed by a Q&A session, autographs and pictures.
To further demonstrate our gratitude to service men and women, we visited the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Hospital in Augusta, Georgia. After signing autographs, Freddie Freeman, Tyler Pastornicky, and JR Graham took on the challenge of the mountain climbing wall. This really gave everyone a greater appreciation for the rehabilitation efforts of the veterans at this hospital.
Next, the Braves family visited students at the DeKalb PATH Academy here in Atlanta and at Liberty High School in Liberty, SC. At the DeKalb PATH Academy, Hall of Famer Don Sutton and Bill Nigut, CEO of the Anti Defamtion League led the discussion on bullying. Don Sutton, Fredi Gonzalez, Brian Snitker, Freddie Freeman, and Tyler Pastornicky added their signatures to a “No Place for Hate” Resolution by placing their handprints and signatures on the gymnasium wall. At Liberty High School, we had the pleasure of speaking with local middle and high school baseball and softball players. The students were excited to hear from Terry Pendleton, Chip Carey, Brandon Beachy, and Sean Gilmartin and wanted to know more about life in the big leagues, influential people in their lives and what they would have done if they were not baseball players.
One of the most interactive and rewarding stops on the Caravan was our visit to Atlanta’s City of Refuge, an organization that provides resources and assistance to those who are less fortunate. Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla, Brian McCann, Paul Yanish, Reed Johnson, and Cory Gearrin spent time with the pre-schoolers then put their skills to work in the kitchen as they helped prepare and serve lunch to the residents. The Tomahawk Team even joined in by serving beverages and dessert!
The 2013 Braves Country Caravan was huge a success! The southeast always has been and always will be … BRAVES COUNTRY!!!!