The members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team who will play a doubleheader Sept. 21 against a team of city first-responders have given much in service to their country.
The veterans and active-duty soldiers on the team have lost limbs while serving in the military since Sept. 11, 2001. Their mission now is to show that with rehabilitation and hard work, anything is possible.
The Marysville games are a part of the Warriors' 55-city, 25-state tour.
The pre-game ceremony Sept. 21 begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Union County Joint Recreation Sports Complex, 16000 County Home Road, Marysville.
Marysville Fire Chief Jay Riley said his department is happy to take part in the event.
"We are grateful to be able to support the Wounded Warrior Project and also honor our local veterans," Riley said.
The Wounded Warriors' local appearance is sponsored by Marysville Knights of Columbus Council 5534. Duane Lord, chairman of the committee organizing the event, said Union County is a great place to help the Wounded Warrior team get the message out because it is such a patriotic community.
"Hopefully, it brings awareness of the cost of freedom and shows how resilient and determined our military men and women are to overcome an injury," he said.
"They come in from all over the country. They live throughout the whole United States. They are coming in Friday and leaving on Sunday," Lord said.
He said sponsoring the team's visit also fits well with the four core principles of the Knights of Columbus: patriotism, charity, unity and fraternity.
The idea to bring the Wounded Warrior team to Union County came from a Knights of Columbus member who saw a story about it on TV, Lord said.
When the group first contacted the amputee softball team, their schedule was full for this year but the team was planning to visit Newark, about 58 miles east of Marysville.
"The Wounded Warrior contact checked with Newark and asked if they would be willing to split the cost and split the games -- one game in Newark and one game in Marysville," Lord said.
The agreement was made but the plan took another turn when, on Memorial Day, Lord found out that Newark would not be able to raise the funds to host the team's visit.
"So we ended up doing the whole project then. We went from half the cost to the whole cost," he said.
Lord said he was told that cost can go as high as $10,000.
The Knights of Columbus chapter is paying airfare plus room and board for 13 to 15 people -- 10 players plus staff.
"We started asking corporations if they would like to help sponsor this. We've received numerous corporations that have said yes," Lord said.
Individual donors and businesses also contributed and donations are still being collected. Those wishing to donate can call Lord at 937-644-8472 or check out the Facebook page Union County First Responders vs Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team.
Lord said the work to get the Wounded Warriors here is well worth it. He wants the members of the team to know that civilians do recognize the importance of the United States military and the cost of freedom.
"These teams are awesome," he said. "We want to give them a good old Buckeye welcome."