Home Runs for Heroes hits new fundraising high in fourth year
COLUMBIA - The Rainbow Softball Center in Cosmo Park was full of life Sunday as teams swung for the fences to raise awareness for Central Missouri Honor Flight.
Home Runs for Heroes founder Jared Reichel said they broke last year's fundraising record in the first day of this year's softball tournament and expects to see a total of $12,500 after they calculate the final numbers.
"Last year we raised around $9,200 and we already passed that number Saturday," Reichel said. "It's awesome we're able to get so many people out here to help our veterans like this."
Reichel served the U.S. Army and was stationed in Iraq from 2007 to 2009 before retiring from injuries sustained in combat. He started the tournament shortly after in 2011.
"The veterans we serve through this tournament, for Honor Flight, fought in such a different type of war than us younger veterans today," Reichel said. "Bringing in the younger veterans to play for these guys, despite that separation, creates a unique connection."
Several veterans also competed on different teams over the two-day tournament. Some of them believed there should be more events like Home Run for Heroes to honor those fighting for our country.
"I think if they did more stuff like this for veterans, it'd be a great deal," veteran Shaun McNulty said. "I believe some of the veterans don't get the recognition they deserve."
McNulty is part of a family of veterans. He said it is extremely important to know how much they all risk by enlisting.
"My little brother died in Afghanistan in 2012," McNulty said. "It's a soft spot, but anything the community can do to help the veterans out is a great cause."
Each team paid $225 to compete in the tournament. There was a three game guarantee for every team that played.