SARASOTA, FLA. – Sunday was All America Family Day at Ed Smith Stadium as the Sarasota All Stars faced off against the Manasota Military All Stars in a game of slow pitch softball. The Orioles in partnership with the Patterson Foundation’s Legacy of Valor campaign hosted the game.
“It is important that we thank our veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice every single day so that we can have great days like this,” said Linda Gould.
ABC 7’s own Scott Dennis and Max Winitz played on Sarasota All Stars team made up if local celebrities and politicians.
“Playing against American heroes, people who have served our country for many years, devoted a lot of their careers to that and to be able to play a fun game of softball with them is a thrill,” said Dennis.
Before the game started the crowd was treated to a performance by the Sarasota Military Academy’s drum corps and representatives of each branch of military were escorted onto the field by area girl scouts.
While the game on the field was played for fun, there was still a lot of competition.
“You have a bunch of military guys together. In this case, you’ve got 24 type A- always win kind of personalities- sitting together, it is all important out here right now,” said 13-year military veteran Ryan Simonson.
Simonson told ABC 7 his grandfather served in WWII and his father was a Vietnam era tanker. Over the years he has seen the evolution of how the community now reacts and responds to our veterans.
“To be out here and really kind of feel it first hand has just been an amazing experience.”
Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist Anibal Martinez is thankful for the work being done by the Legacy of Valor Campaign.
“It is amazing what these guys do, not only for us, the active duty, but retired personnel and remembrance of everyone that served our country and still serves our country. I think it is big and there needs to be a program like this in every city,” said Martinez.
After the softball game that was won by the Manasota Military All Stars All American Family Day wrapped up with a concert by singer-song writer Margaret Valentine and Grammy Award-winning band “America.”