–by Mary Helen Darah
The Sylvania Senior Softball League hosted the USA Patriots Amputee Softball Team for a series of three exhibition games at Mercy Health Field on South Holland-Sylvania Rd. on Aug. 28. The USA Patriots Amputee Softball Team Exhibition Games and Fundraising Event featured matches with the Toledo Police Department, local celebrities and medical veterans and finished the event playing against the University of Toledo Women’s Softball Team.
The USA Patriots Amputee Softball Team, formerly the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, was founded in 2010. The non-profit 501(c)(3) gives athletes the opportunity to serve and compete beyond the battlefield and demonstrate their motto of “life without a limb is limitless.” The USA Patriots, composed of competitive, athletic veterans who have lost limbs in combat and non-combat-related injuries, travel the country playing able-bodied teams in competitive and exhibition softball games.
The opening ceremonies included a welcome by WSPD news personality Fred LeFebvre along with Tom Cole and his daughter, Sylvania Magistrate Christy Cole Hemke.
A moving bagpipe tribute was performed by Chris Malhoit and the National Anthem was sung by Liz Wilson.
Proceeds from the event will go towards the sponsorship of local children with prosthetics to attend the USA Patriots Kids Camp. The annual Kids Camp is for children between the ages of 8-12 with amputations or missing limbs. Children who recently returned from camp were in attendance at the event. The USA Patriots pay all expenses including travel, meals, and lodging for the child and one parent. Parents describe the camp experience as “life-altering” for their child.
The Sylvania Senior Softball League (SSS) is a league of 50 plus-year-old men that play at Pacesetter Park in Sylvania. Jay Schramm, past president of the Sylvania league, was instrumental in bringing the event to fruition. “The event was heartwarming and fulfilling,” he said. “The mood was very refreshing. It embodied patriotism, helping children with prosthetics and came together thanks to community-based involvement. It also raised awareness for those who live beyond their limitations. Hopefully, the Sylvania Senior Softball League can continue to provide the event in the future. The Sylvania Senior League has a great team. We are a league of retirees, local business owners, and community engagers who love the game and the rewarding feeling of giving back. The event was a success thanks to local people who put so much work into an event that inspired so many. It was truly inspirational.”