The summer months are always a good time for heroes, with the mega-blockbuster superhero movies set to break box office records. One does not need a colorful outfit or superpowers to be a hero though, as everyday people can accomplish great deeds with heart, determination and unselfishness.
That was the theme on a scorching hot day at Citi Field on Thursday, as heroes of all kinds took to participate in the Citi Softball for Heroes event, which was presented by Citibank. There were those 60 heroes who were able to raise $500 to have an opportunity to play softball on the same field as the New York Mets.
Those vital funds raised went to a great cause, as the 2012 edition of the Citi Softball for Heroes event benefitted another heroic organization-the Fisher House Foundation. The Foundation does a tremendous job in assisting America’s military in their time of need, donating homes which are built on grounds of major military and VA medical centers.
“We got a phone call from our friends at Citi and they said you know we have wanted to do something with our veterans,” said Dave Coker, President of the Fisher House on how the relationship between Citi, the Mets and the Foundation began. “We want to propose a softball game at Citi Field and people would buy tickets and the donations would go to Fisher House.”
Helping to lend a hand and supporting the participants who were Mets-greats Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry who took time to chat with everyone in attendance including the veterans and the Wounded Warriors.
Gooden and Strawberry took time to chat with 1495 Sports on what it was like to be at the Citi Softball for Heroes event and some of the best advice for those interested in volunteering.
“It is a great day to be out here at the park and supporting this great cause,” said Strawberry to 1495 Sports. “To be here and supporting the military, vets and their families means a lot. It is a very difficult time for those who have fought for this country and a lot of us are free thanks to these brave service members. I am always grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of something like this.”
Gooden, who was the youngest player to appear in an All-Star Game in 1984 was one of the most dominant and feared pitchers in the National League in the middle and late 1980’s. The Tampa Bay-native is now a part of the Mets Alumni Association-presented by Citibank, and along with other Mets-great is seen giving back to the community.
“It is great charity event and opportunity for our wounded veterans to come out here and play softball,” Gooden said to 1495 Sports. “To be able to put a smile on their face, to talk baseball and the memories that they had of when we played is great.”
Warriors like Greg Reynolds, who proved that there are no limits to what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. The Staff Sergeant, who was in Iraq from 2003-04, survived the war to only come back home to lose his left arm in a near-fatal motorcycle crash in 2008.
“I am very lucky and fortunate to be a part of this great event,” Reynolds said to 1495 Sports on being a part of the Citi Softball for Heroes event. “It is for the Fisher House Foundation, which is a great organization that helps out veterans, families and wounded warriors.”
Reynolds continued by saying, “It is such an honor to be standing here and to be able to play on a Major League Baseball field, it is an unbelievable experience and we have greats like Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden to encourage us and it is a very humbling experience to be on this field and playing the sport of softball.”
The Dighton, Mass-native who looks like he can play on any Major League team, impressed many with his play. Reynolds who has overcome many odds, has been inspiring others with his amazing story-has gone on to participate in a flag football game with retired NFL players at the time of Super Bowl XLVI
“There was a lot of adversity that I had to overcome to be able to play sports,” Reynolds told 1495 Sports. “I had to learn how to play catch with the opposite hand, swing-I had to learn the game all over again. It has been a lot of hard work, but you know a lot of warriors have it within themselves it is in our blood.”
Reynolds continued to say, “It is an experience I’d never thought I’d be a part of and as I continue in my post recovery I am doing more and more and finding out myself that the only limitations that I have are the ones that I make, and I don’t make any.”
Heart, determination and unselfishness that is all it takes to be a hero and in the end all it takes is one action to ‘save the day.’
“It is very special to be able to volunteer,” said Gooden. “To be able to brighten the day of others and to do something unselfish means a lot. To be able to help and serve others-that is what it is all about.”
1495 Sports TV:
1495 Sports Photo Gallery:
Fisher House Foundation: