Lee Baseball Celebrates Military Day On Saturday

Monday, April 21, 2014
It will be Military Day on Saturday when the Lee baseball team plays host to Gulf South Conference opponent Memphis Christian Brothers in a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The three-game series (Saturday and Sunday) is the final regular-season games.

Bill Gray, Commander of the local Disabled American Veterans Chapter, says that there are more than 8,000 veterans in Bradley County. At least 680 of the men and women who shed their blood, sweat and tears for America are disabled.

It is this group of men and women the baseball team at Lee University has decided to benefit through its second annual Military Appreciation Day on Saturday, April 26, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Head coach Mark Brew said the goal is to raise upward of $15,000 for the local DAV.

"These servicemen and women have done a great job," Brew said. "Our community has a rich history of service, so I think it is just a good-fitting combination and opportunity to honor them."

The baseball team continues the tradition of Lee University sports giving back through large fundraising events. Others include the volleyball team's Volley for a Cure, the basketball team's Hoops for Hope and the soccer team's Kickin' It For Cancer.

Brew said a military-focused event made sense to the team.

"Baseball is a team sport and the military is the ultimate team," Brew said. "It is a lot of people getting one common job done. That is what we try to preach to our guys, too. We are here for a bigger cause."

Supporters from the community have responded to the baseball team's request for sponsorships.

Bank of Cleveland signed up to be the head sponsor for the second year in a row.

Senior Vice President Christy Griffith explained the event has a personal tie to the bank.

"One of the reasons of our sponsorship is our founder and chairman Bobby Taylor, who passed away several years ago, was a veteran, as well as, many of our customers, our clients and our friends," Griffith said. "On a personal note, my father is a Vietnam veteran. It touches close to home for me."

Added Griffith, "I think any time we can reach out and appreciate our active duty and veterans I think it is a great idea."

Said Gray, "The most patriotic, strongest person who loves his country is a veteran. I mean, quite literally, I shed my blood for this country and I would do it again, if they would take me. And to see society today, the way they are responding to us, it does our heart good."

A majority of the work completed by the local volunteer DAV chapter is completed on $4,000 to $5,000 a year. Brew said seeing what the chapter does with limited resources really stood out to him.

"To think we can help [the DAV] in a larger capacity is very exciting to us," Brew said.

Those interested in helping out now can do so through one of two ways:

-Donating items for the silent auction.

-Purchasing a $10 Military Appreciation Day shirt from Brew; the Bank of
Cleveland's downtown branch; the Cleveland Daily Banner; or Jenkin's Deli.

Brew encouraged businesses and restaurants to get involved through sponsorships or coupon donations, and several have responded.

On Tuesday, April 22nd, Chick-Fil-A (Keith Street Location) will be donating 10% of proceeds from 4-8 p.m. Please make sure you sign the sheet beside the register so a percentage of your purchase can go directly to the event.

On Wednesday, April 23rd, the Santa Fe Cattle Co. (Bradley Square Mall) will be donating 10% of proceeds from 5-9 p.m.

On Thursday, April 24th, Zaxby's (25th St. Location) will be donating 10% of all proceeds from 5-9 p.m. Additionally, MIX104.1 and 101.3 THE BUZZ, will be doing a live radio remote from Zaxby's promoting the Military Appreciation Day event. A "Nuclear Wing" eating contest involving members of the Flames' team will be a highlight (or low light) of the evening.

Brew added that Saturday's veteran led program with include remarks from Bradley County Veteran Service Officer Joe Davis and special music from the Voices of Lee (Voices are singing national anthem, God Bless America, and armed forces medley between games)

- Kids Zone - inflatables, speed throw, whiffle ball for kids

- Military Equipment for viewing – 2 Humvees, and Met Entertainment Trailer provided by local 252nd National Guard

- Local military recruiters from all service branches will be set up

- Sports Clips will be cutting veterans hair free of charge from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the Sports Clips booth

- Zaxby's will be providing free food for veterans and Nibbler plates with chips and cookies for sale to the public

- Silent Auction – several autographed Major League Baseball Memorabilia with jerseys, balls, and photos. Lee University Sports Camps, Chattanooga Lookouts VIP package and much, much more

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