The San Jacinto College baseball team recently honored veterans and current members of the military with its ninth annual Military Appreciation Game April 1 against Navarro College.
"This game is important for us as a team because it is a way for our baseball program to thank military members for their patriotic service to our country," said Tom Arrington, head coach. "We started this nine years ago and plan to continue for years to come."
This sentiment is not lost on the team either, especially those with close ties to veterans.
"It was my pleasure to participate in the game to recognize all veterans but especially to honor my dad, who served in the Navy," said Luke Little, Gators pitcher. "It was even more personal to me as I saw him in the stands. I wanted to show him how much I respect and honor him."
During the pre-game ceremony, the Crosby High School JROTC presented the flags as the national anthem was performed by San Jac student Joanna Thompson.
The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by full-time San Jacinto College student and Iraqi veteran Staff Sergeant Irvin Fuller.
Fuller enlisted in the United States Army in 1996, and during his time in the military, he was assigned to several duty stations — including Hawaii, Texas, and Kansas — as well as serving three tours in Iraq. Currently, Fuller also works part time in the North Campus Veteran Services Office, continuing to help his veteran brothers and sisters.
"This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart," said Fuller. "I love working in the veteran center because I'm able to relate to what they are going through. It allows me to better understand their issues and help them with any problems they may have."
The veteran centers at the Central, North, and South Campuses serve the men, women, and families of those who have honorably served in the military and assist them with reaching their educational goals by using their veteran education benefits in an inclusive environment.