O’NEALS — For anyone who has served or remains active in the military, or just wants to see some baseball, stop by Minarets High School on Friday, April 28 starting at 4 p.m. for a very special event as Minarets takes on Fowler on behalf of the U.S. Military.
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Minarets Baseball will hold its second annual Military Appreciation Game of baseball, in honor of all that have served in the past and continue to do so today. The event is being organized by Minarets sophomores Aaron Hall and Blake DeMaria. Besides serving up some of America’s favorite pastime, a complimentary dinner will be served to all veterans. The meal includes pulled pork sandwiches, Hawaiian cabbage salad and watermelon. Non-military are not being charged for the meal though donations are appreciated. The snack shop will be open for business as usual.
The Military Appreciation Game and dinner is part of Aaron and Blakes’ Senior Legacy Experience (SLE) at Minarets — even though graduation is still two years away. Both young men are on the Varsity baseball team for the Mustangs. Aaron organized the inaugural event last year and Blake stepped in this year, and each has worked with dedication toward organizing this event and securing sponsorship to make it happen.
All proceeds from the game will go to Doc’s Dogs for Vets in Fresno. Doc’s is a nonprofit founded by the Pleitez family in honor of Spc. Benjamin C. Pleitez, an army medic who died in Afghanistan in 2012. As an EMT and highly trained medic known as “Doc,” Benjamin was responsible for the health of his soldiers while on missions and for teaching the combat life saving training to his battalion, says the organization’s website.
According to organizers at Doc’s, it was Benjamin’s goal to start a kennel for breeding and training dogs. The search for property to build a kennel eventually led to 40 acres in the foothills. After Ben died, the family was able to meet with some of the returning soldiers, and they began to get a better picture of what many combat vets experience during life after deployment.
They met a veteran, wounded in Iraq, who was in the process of obtaining his own service assistance dog, and began to fully understand the enormous benefits and critical need for service and assistance dogs for combat veterans.
That’s how Doc’s came to be.
The public is encouraged to attend the event on Friday, Apr. 28 at 4 p.m. at Minarets, to honor active duty military and veterans, and asked to please share the information so that anyone who can participate knows about the special day.
This article was edited on Apr. 27 at approximately 3 p.m. to reflect a dinner menu of pulled pork sandwiches, Hawaiian cabbage salad, and watermelon. No charge, donations are accepted.