While the Dodgers have always prioritized the importance of Veteran’s Day, this year was not much different, despite the challenges of social distancing and the lingering coronavirus.
This week, the Dodgers are celebrating our country’s veterans with a full slate of activities, including the team sending Letters of Gratitude and care packages to veterans and active military personnel, participating in a veteran-led Town Hall, as well as renovating the outdoor space at a Veterans Center downtown.
“2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and in particular for our veterans who we continue to love and support,” said Naomi Rodriguez, Dodger Vice President of External Affairs & Community Relations. “We miss interacting with our brave men and women in uniform during our nightly Military Hero of the Game ceremony and especially today, Veterans Day, when we’d normally be hosting our annual Veterans Day Batting Practice. We can’t wait to honor and thank our great veterans at Dodger Stadium again once safe to do so.”
With the club’s annual Veterans Day Batting Practice canceled this year, the Dodgers still reached out to thank as many veterans as possible, partnering with The Life Aid Research Institute “No Vet Alone” project to send Letters of Gratitude to military veterans across Southern California.
In addition, the 40th Infantry Division from Los Angeles, which is deployed overseas, will receive a Dodger/Life Aid Gratitude care pack. The Life Aid Research Institute “No Vet Alone” project is aimed at suicide prevention by improving whole health and empowering resilience.
The Dodgers also participated in another Life Aid event on Tuesday, when manager Dave Roberts and Nichol Whiteman, CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, were panelists for a Town Hall Event that sought to build bridges between law enforcement and Los Angeles’ diverse communities. This veteran-led conversation devoted to empathy leveraged the power of great team players, our Military Veterans, First Responders and sports figures, along with community leaders, to improve race relations in the Los Angeles community.
On Monday, the Dodgers and Major League Baseball unveiled the renovated All-Star Veterans Courtyard at the Volunteers of America Ballington Plaza Apartments of the Veterans Service Center in the Downtown Skid Row section of Los Angeles.
The Veterans Service Center, operated by Volunteers of America Los Angeles, is the first point of contact for homeless veterans in Downtown L.A. In collaboration with veteran-led organization The Mission Continues, this effort upgraded existing outdoor gathering space facilities in Skid Row/Downtown L.A. for veterans receiving day services and those in long-term housing on site, with the following: painting and cosmetic repairs to existing structures and new lighting, new landscaping (refreshed green space, garden beds) and meditation garden, new outdoor dining space, upgraded workout equipment, new benches, and additional beautification projects.
Last year, in addition to the team’s annual Veteran’s Day batting practice event, the club hosted over 350 active-duty military personnel at Dodger Stadium. Gavin Lux, Fernando Valenzuela, Ron Cey, Tommy Davis, Billy Ashley, Dennis Powell and broadcaster Joe Davis were all on hand as part of the program.
All of us here at TBPC would like to extend a personal, heartfelt thanks to all the veterans who served our great country.
(Jon Chapper provided some information furnished in this report)