Ongoing challenges because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has required countless changes but it did not prevent the Los Angeles Dodgers from recognizing veterans throughout the week.
The Dodgers historically host a Veterans Day batting practice session at Dodger Stadium, which due to health and safety concerns could not be held this year. The annual celebration has drawn the likes of Justin Turner, Gavin Lux, Joe Davis and others over recent years.
Instead, the organization showed their appreciation through other means. The Dodgers front office sent letters of gratitude and care packages to veterans and active military personnel, a group participated in a town hall and completed an All-Star Legacy project by renovating a courtyard at the Volunteers of America Ballington Plaza Apartments in the Skid Row neighborhood of downtown L.A.
“2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and in particular for our veterans who we continue to love and support,” Dodgers vice president of external affairs and community relations Naomi Rodriguez said.
“We miss interacting with our brave men and women in uniform during our nightly Military Hero of the Game ceremony and especially today, Veterans Day, when we’d normally be hosting our annual Veterans Day Batting Practice. We can’t wait to honor and thank our great veterans at Dodger Stadium again once safe to do so.”
The Dodgers partnered with with The Life Aid Research Institute’s “No Vet Alone” project to send letters to veterans across Southern California, and the 40th Infantry division from Los Angeles, which is deployed overseas, was sent care packs.
Additionally, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation CEO Nichol Whiteman were panelists for a town hall event that sought to facilitate a better relationship between law enforcement and local communities.
The renovated All-Star Veterans Courtyard featured new painting and cosmetic repairs to existing structures, new lighting, new landscaping and installation of a meditation garden, new outdoor dining space, upgraded workout equipment and new benches, among other amenities.
Turner pays respects
When the Dodgers recognize a Military Hero for each home game, Turner is the first person to greet them as they walk off the field. He typically gifts them an autographed baseball and expresses his gratitude.
It’s just a small gesture from Turner, who is filled with widespread admiration and respect for current and retired military members.
“Being Veteran’s Day, having a chance to give a little bit of time and say thank you and come out and spend some time with the men and the women that sacrifice their lives, their family, their time to go and defend our country, is a no-brainer for me,” he said at a recent Veterans Day batting practice.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else and on top of that, one of the main purposes of our foundation is a homeless veterans center, so getting girls and guys out today to participate was great. It’s just all-around a great event and again, the Dodgers are doing a great job of honoring our military men and women and opening up the field for them and putting this one and inviting me to be a part of it is pretty special.”
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