The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team Visits Brainerd
For some, the summer months are best enjoyed outdoors, but most people can agree that there is no better place to spend a Friday in July than out at the ball park. The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team paid a visit to Mills Baseball Field this evening.
Bats, softballs, veterans and a whole lot of cheering filled Mills Field earlier tonight when the Wounded Warrior Softball Team came into town. Normally during this time of year there is a softball tournament, but these guests made this one was extra special.
“We have a non-profit that’s called This One’s for Hop Inc. and it’s in honor of my father who passed away 18 years ago and we’ve run the softball tournament as his memorial, it’s known as the Hopper Tournament and we wanted to do something different, we wanted to do something where we can make an impact in people’s lives and the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team hadn’t been to Minnesota in a while, I reached out to them and here we are,” Eryk Haapajoki, the president of This One’s For Hop Inc. said.
The team wanted to play in the tournament but also took the time to run some extra bases with members of the Miracle League Teams. Designed for those who are physically or mentally disabled, the field is on level artificial turf so that all participants can swing away safely.
“What we try to do is inspire kids and let them know that you can have fun in life and you can be all that you can be,” said Ben Mitchell, one of the Wounded Warrior team members.
“Their message that I’ve heard a couple times this week is life without a limb is limitless, so you look at the things that they have sacrificed so that all of us get to do all the things that we’re doing right now – and it gets my heart,” Haapajoki said.
After a fun afternoon at Miracle League Field members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team prepared for their first ever game in Brainerd.
The team wasn’t the only one with prep-work however. Eryk and his team have been working on the event together for over a year, with the help of nearly 60 volunteers.
“It’s a community event to celebrate the veterans and active military and these Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team Guys,” Haapajoki mentioned.
The team was grateful for the open arms that the community demonstrated while welcoming them to the area and also the support from fans throughout the game.
“It’s a heart-warming feeling because what we try to do is show individuals that regardless of what limitations you have, you can push through it and never quit. We are excited to always get out there and give 100 percent so individuals that are aware of the fact that you shouldn’t have any limitations in life,” Mitchell said.
Fans came from all over Northern Minnesota to see the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball team in action. It was a bases loaded kind of night.
There are plans to discuss if it will be possible to continue this patriotic night in the future and make this an annual event.