Northville High School Celebrates Armed Forces Day with Doubleheader & Collection for Troops
Home. Baseball players rely on strength and teamwork to get to it. In the face of skilled opponents, they do their best to defend it. The same applies to members of America’s armed forces. No matter how far away or how many unexpected problems arise, the importance of home never changes. There’s no place like it.
For the love of home, on dusty baseball diamonds and in busy communities across America, Northville High School Baseball proudly hosts its third annual Armed Forces Day celebration and doubleheader. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 19 at the high school’s varsity baseball field and surrounding grounds, located at 45700 Six Mile Road in Northville.
A color guard, comprised of members of Northville VFW Post 4012, and flag-raising will welcome visitors to a day of free activities (including an obstacle course, jousting challenge and radar pitch), Armed Forces booths and displays (including military working dogs), recognition of current and veteran service men and women, free food and refreshments and two varsity baseball games. Attendees are encouraged to bring donations which will be sent to U.S. forces serving overseas.
When the flag is unfurled at the opening ceremony, it will mark its second use. The flag was first flown on August, 25, 2011 at Camp Sabalu-Harrison, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Sergeant First Class Ryan Francis flew the flag last summer in “recognition of the several care packages I received from your baseball team…. With great pleasure…I was able to fly this flag in honor of Northville High School.” SFC Francis sent the flag to NHS upon his return from Afghanistan.
In 2011, 1750 pounds of donated items were shipped overseas, thanks to the generosity of the Northville Public Schools community. NHS Assistant Baseball Coach Bill Flohr (founder and driving force of this effort) and the Armed Forces Day committee of NHS baseball parents set a 2012 donation goal of 2000 pounds. To reach that goal, participating Northville Public Schools have been accepting donations all week. Coach Flohr and his committee are confident Saturday’s donations will tip the scales in their favor.
Suggestions for individually wrapped snack items: Instant drink mix, beef jerky, licorice, trail mix, dry soup, gum, cheese & cracker packs, chips, nuts, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, granola, energy & cereal bars and hard candy.
Popular individually wrapped toiletries: Hand sanitizer, lip balm, wipes, body wash, SPF 45 sun block, zinc, vitamin E & other lotions, combs, brushes, disposable razors, shampoo, Band-Aids, tissues, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Other helpful donations: CDs, DVDs, playing cards, small board games, Frisbees, pens, stationery, old cell phones and gallon-sized freezer bags. Children’s drawings and letters of support, including sports news and top local stories, are also very well-received, and are frequently on display in the soldiers’ living quarters. Monetary donations will also be accepted.
Donations will be shipped overseas by Michigan Military Moms, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. Merrill Griffin, vice-president of Michigan Military Moms, is pleased to work with NHS Baseball on this ambitious labor of love. “When troops are away from base for several weeks, access to food can become increasingly tricky. Many times, all they have to eat is what they carry with them. Granola bars, beef jerky and other snacks keep them going,” she explains. “Other times, troop movements are delayed. That’s when books, games, movies and music provide comfort and a bit of distraction.” Tracey Roberts, also of Michigan Military Moms, adds, “Those touches of home remind them that they’re not forgotten.”
NHS Varsity Coach John Kostrzewa’s Mustangs have worked hard to post the team’s best record in the last three years. They’re anxious to face White Lake Lakeland High School in Saturday’s 11 a.m. game. First pitches will be thrown by Army PFC Christopher Ochs, FOX 2 Sports Director Dan Miller and Richard Miller, decorated naval officer and Vietnam War veteran whose son Todd is Lakeland’s head coach. Michigan Army National Guard SFC Christopher M. Ploucha will be among those to throw first pitches in the day’s second contest against Wyandotte Roosevelt High School at 2 p.m.
“It’s important to recognize Chris Ploucha,” stresses Kostrzewa. “Several years ago, our coaching staff witnessed how the San Diego Padres supported the area’s military community. We came home with lots of great ideas but didn’t know what to do next. Chris has helped us every step of the way.”
NHS Baseball is again privileged to spotlight Armed Forces Day, and to honor the brave people who safeguard the freedom and privileges Americans treasure. Whether it’s a Mustang charging for it or a soldier fighting for it, Armed Forces Day celebrates all that’s best about home.
For more information: Bill Flohr at 248 761 9694 or firstname.lastname@example.org