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The Griffin Gives Foundation Hosts Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team

National touring team comprised of amputee veterans visit Indian Valley for events supporting Veterans and First Responders in a "Tribute to America’s Heroes".

Souderton, PA, May 30, 2014 --( The Griffin Gives Foundation welcomed the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) to Montgomery County, PA for a series of events over Memorial Day weekend. The weekend started off with a welcome reception and dinner in Lansdale, PA on Friday, May 23.

Saturday, May 24 saw the bulk of the action with a 5 team mini-tournament at Franconia Community Park in Telford, PA pitting local first responder and veterans teams from the area against each other. Souderton Fire defeated Telford Fire in the first game of the morning, while the team from Telford VFW Post 5308 defeated a coalition of officers from local police forces in Game 2. The Grand Ceremonies took place following the conclusion of Game 2 and included a motorcycle escorted transfer for the WWAST provided by members of Souderton American Legion Post 234. Upon entrance into the park, the team was met with a hero’s welcome provided by ladder trucks from both Telford and Souderton fire departments and warmly greeted with a standing ovation from the hundreds of fans in attendance. Following the arrival of the team, the colors were presented by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania and a large American flag was unfurled and presented with members of the participating teams in center field. Souderton native and Philadelphia Phillies alumnus Jamie Moyer was on hand to introduce the teams and players and throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Gibson Largent of Ridgeline Community Church offered a moving invocation, bagpiper Joel Adams of Willow Grove Piper performed ‘America The Beautiful’ and Ally Mills, Souderton Area High School freshman, sang the national anthem. Following a dramatic parachute entrance from double-amputee Sgt. First Class Dana Bowman, U.S. Army (Ret.), Pennsylvania State Representative Robert Godshall offered his support and officially kicked off the event with the words “Play Ball.”

Game 3 saw the WWAST dispatch the Telford Fire team 15-0 in 3 innings and immediately followed by defeating Souderton Fire 13-1 in 3 innings. Highlights from the game included home runs from WWAST’s Axel Alicea (2) and Lonnie Gaudet. The first responder championship game saw Souderton Fire square off against Telford VFW and the VFW team come away with the title on a 16-11 victory. In the final game of the day, WWAST took care of the Montgomery County police unit, 15-1 in 3 innings, but had to come from behind to defeat the Telford VFW, 22-4 in a full 6 inning event featuring home runs from WWAST’s Carter Hess, Rick Wilk, Axel Alicea, and Josh Wege.

Following a post-game celebration reception for the team at Souderton American Legion Post 234, The Griffin Gives Foundation hosted a dinner and awards ceremony in Kulpsville, PA for the teams, organizers and local supporters.

“It was a complete and total honor to host these men, particularly over Memorial Day weekend.” said Tracey Leinen, Executive Director of The Griffin Gives Foundation. “As the daughter of an Army veteran who served overseas, I’m glad that we were able to recognize these men who have sacrificed and served our country and bring this event to our local community.“

The Griffin Gives Foundation is a philanthropic, not for profit 501(c)(3) foundation dedicated to supporting organizations committed to making a difference in the lives of others. The pillars of our foundation are to support our active and retired military personnel, champion the health and wellness of children, and support those fighting debilitating disease. At its core, the foundation aims to provide support for all ages, in all areas, and help fight every cause. Since its inception, The Griffin Gives Foundation has made an impact by supporting organizations like The Lung Cancer Foundation on behalf of Hank Baskett, The Kevin Turner Foundation and the fight against ALS, The Gary Sinise Foundation on behalf of their smart home program for disabled veterans, and Ryan House providing pediatric palliative care.

The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) mission is to raise awareness, through exhibition and celebrity softball games, of the sacrifices and resilience of our military, and highlight their ability to rise above any challenge. Their goal is to show other amputees and the general population, that these athletes, through extensive rehabilitation and training, are able to express their desires and perform the sport they love. The WWAST is comprised of young, competitive, athletic veterans and active duty soldiers who have lost limbs post-9/11, while serving their country in the military/war. The team includes individuals with a variety of amputations of the arm, above knee, below knee, bilateral below knee, and foot. Some are still in the service, others are attending college thanks to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, while others have moved on to new careers.

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The Griffin Gives Foundation
Tracey Leinen

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