Wounded Warriors to challenge local teams in May
The Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team, the nationally known squad made up of combat veterans who lost a limb fighting for their country, will come to the Hendersonville area in May for two games.
Fans will have an opportunity to see what organizers say is an amazingly athletic team play local celebrities and first responders but also help homeless veterans in a rehab and job training program.
The Wounded Warrior visit, sponsored by HonorAir, features exhibition benefit games on Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at McCormick Field and Saturday, May 18, at 2 p.m. at West Henderson High School.
Coinciding with Armed Forces Weekend, the games will be an inspiring celebration of American veterans and will benefit Operation Welcome Home, a program established by HonorAir. Operation Welcome Home, a Veteran's Scholarship Fund, provides job opportunities for former military personnel at ABCCM's Veteran's Restoration Quarters and Transitional housing facility in Swannanoa.
The job training program has a placement rate of 100 percent and a retention record of 92 percent after 18 months, said Jeff Miller, the Hendersonville HonorAir and Operation Welcome Home founder.
Corporate sponsors on board so far are Borg Warner, Mission Hospital, Pardee Hospital, Budweiser and the Asheville Tourists. Media sponsors are WLOS and Clear Channel radio. Miller said he hoped to raise $100,000 or more from box office sales and sponsorships.
The Wounded Warriors team is made up of the nation's bravest and most determined heroes, soldiers and veterans.
"These young, extremely athletic men have sustained severe injuries resulting in amputation while serving in the military and through extensive rehabilitation have become competitive athletes again," the organization said in a news release. "Each of these amazing athletes has an inspiring story of perseverance and they hope to raise awareness through exhibition and celebrity softball games of the sacrifices and resilience of our military."
Miller said people will be surprised at how good they are.
"They get out there and run," he said. "They're extremely competitive. They want to play tough teams. They take this stuff cold serious."
The Wounded Warriors will play a three-inning exhibition game Friday night against local celebrities and then will face first-responder All Stars from Buncombe County. The next day, at West Hendersonville, they will play a Henderson County Senior Softball League team and first responder All Stars.
Tickets are $10 and available at the Henderson County Visitors Center, 201 S. Main St., and at McCormick Field in Asheville. For information go to WoundedWarriors