CHARLESTON, SC -Military families and baseball go hand-in-hand. For their continued efforts to support the local military community, the Charleston RiverDogs will have a contribution to the Warrior Surf Foundation donated on their behalf from Minor League Baseball after receiving the inaugural Chuck Murphy Patriot Award at the Baseball Winter Meetings.
"On behalf of Minor League Baseball Charities, it is an honor to present this donation on behalf of the Charleston RiverDogs to the Warrior Surf Foundation," said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner. "The Warrior Surf Foundation was created by veterans for veterans and provides some of America's true heroes the opportunity to reintegrate themselves back into life after serving our country. They are a worthy organization and I commend them on their efforts to better the lives of Armed Forces veterans."
As part of their recognition for the newly minted award, MiLB will contribute $2,500 in the RiverDogs' name to the South Carolina-based nonprofit that serves veterans dealing with post-combat mental health issues.
"On behalf of the Warrior Surf Foundation we would like to thank the Charleston RiverDogs and Minor League Baseball for their donation. Our program can only succeed with the help of our community. We are honored to have been chosen and feel great joy that RiverDogs entrusted us with the donation and truly support our cause," said Andy Manzi, President and Co-Founder of the Warrior Surf Foundation "We are a small organization and every dollar counts. Warrior Surf will invest the received donation on our surf program which includes surf boards, wet suits, rash guards, and safety equipment. All of which is costly but necessary for our veterans and their families to succeed in the water."
Founded in Folly Beach in May 2015, the Warrior Surf Foundation is committed to bringing warriors and their families together to promote mental and physical well-being by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. In just their first year, the WSF provided services to more than 90 veterans and active duty service members through their weekend surf camps.
"We're thrilled to have a contribution made in our name to this worthy cause," said RiverDogs President and General Manager Dave Echols. "The fact that this donation comes as part of our recognition of the Patriot Award is a testament to Minor League Baseball's commitment to serving veterans."
As the South Atlantic League's nominee for the Patriot Award, the RiverDogs continued to go beyond paying their respects to the Lowcountry's strong military family in 2016. The club hosted three Military Appreciation nights during the season, continued their support of the Wounded Warrior Corps on "Red Shirt Fridays" where fans wore red in their support of the military, and honored a military family of the game each night at The Joe. Also in 2016, the RiverDogs hired five homeless military veterans for their stadium clean-up crew in the wake of the dissolution of Charleston's Tent City, and hired a current Air Force reservist as a member of the sales staff. The RiverDogs employ more than 30 military veterans on their gameday operation.
The Patriot Award is named in honor of the longtime Florida State League president and U.S. Army veteran who passed away Feb. 21, 2015, at the age of 83. Murphy retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 21 years in the U.S. Army, broke into professional baseball in 1975 and led the Florida State League from 1990 until his passing. He received the Warren Giles Award for outstanding service as a league president in both 2011 and 1991, and the Friends of Baseball Chapel Award in 1994.
RiverDogs season tickets, half-season ticket packages and mini plans are now available for the 2017 campaign. The RiverDogs begin the season on April 6 when they host the Lexington Legends at Joseph P Riley, Jr. Park. Ticket information can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com.