|Former Army Sgt Rich Yarosh with|
players Mike Knapp and Mike Myers.
|Maj. Bill Roberts & Cmdr Ken Governor|
Former Army Sgt. Rick Yarosh of Binghamton had a similar message: "Play hard, play as a team, and make sure you become a family. It's more than just baseball. Working as a team and becoming family...That's how we survived in Iraq."
Roberts, who served three tours in Iraq before heading to Afghanistan where a roadside bomb caused his vehicle to flip and crush his spine, noted that after a number of back surgeries and now rehab at Sitrin, "I'm just glad I can walk again," albeit with a cane.
|Rick Yarosh autographs ball for|
Michael Knapp of Rochester's
Ferris-Goodrich Post 330.
The players handed baseballs to both men, asking for their autographs.
"It was amazing," Roberts said. "I was never asked for my autograph before. I'm an infantry officer. I'm used to being on the other side, asking for autographs."
Andrean Post Commander and Tournament Director Michael Macchione noted that with the best teams in the state playing for the championship, The American Legion "wanted to make a different connection" for the players. Some were visiting World War II, Korean War and Vietnam veterans at St. Luke's Home across town, while other players were spending a little time with wounded warriors and other Persian Gulf veterans at Sitrin, where they could get "autographs to take home and put on the mantle" as true momentoes.
Commander Governor added that the day illustrated what The American Legion is really about -- "service first to our veterans, to families and youth, to our communities."
Department Commander Ken Governor chats with former Army Sgt. Jennifer Fitzgerald, who is the military consultant for Sitrin's Military Rehabilitation Center.
Rosemary Benzo Bonacci, Sitrin's vice president of Development and Communications, shows an illustration of a lakeside lodge that Sitrin plans to build at its nearby Camp Sitrin -- to provide a therapeutic environment for various traumas that military personnel have suffered.
Department Commander Ken Governor takes a tour of 24-acre Camp Sitrin, which provides a therapeutic and educational environment for wounded warriors and others. "I'm so impressed with what you guys are doing," Governor told Sitrin's Clinical Development Vice President Jackie Warmuth (left), Sitrin volunteer Army Sgt. First Class Dane Halligan (2nd from left), and Sitrin's Development and Communications VP Rosemary Bonacci. "You're thinking outside the box."
Baseball Tournament Director Michael Macchione with Sitrin VP Jackie Warmuth during a tour of Camp Sitrin.