CHARLESTON, SC - With a vibrant military community right in their backyard, the Charleston RiverDogs have consistently expressed their gratitude to the service men and women in the Lowcountry. Through their continued efforts, the RiverDogs have been awarded the inaugural Charles K. Murphy Patriot Award recognizing an individual or club for its outstanding support of the military branches and engagement with veterans as announced by the Minor League Baseball office.
As the South Atlantic League's nominee for the newly minted 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 where all active and retired service members enjoyed complementary tickets. The club also continued their support of the Wounded Warrior Corps on "Red Shirt Fridays" where fans wore red in their support of the military along with a portion of the ticket proceeds benefitting the nonprofit.
"With the strong military community that we have in Charleston, recognizing both veterans and active service members has always been a focal point for us as an organization," said RiverDogs President and General Manager Dave Echols. "This award is as much recognition of our efforts as it is to the fantastic support we have had from the Charleston community to show solidarity with our men and women in uniform."
In addition to hosting several Military Appreciation Nights, the RiverDogs also honored a Military Family of the Game with the featured veteran at each home game receiving complimentary tickets, food, and merchandise along with an in-game recognition of their service.
The RiverDogs were also an instrumental part in the founding of the Palmetto Military Support Group, a civilian organization focused on the backing of the extended military family in the Lowcountry. Echols currently serves as the Vice President on the PMSG board.
"It is exciting to see the RiverDogs nationally recognized for their outstanding support to our military. It comes as no surprise to those of us who serve at Joint Base Charleston who have been the focus of their support. I'm glad to see it recognized by others," said Colonel Robert Lyman, Commanding Officer of Joint Base Charleston and the 628th Air Base Wing. "The RiverDogs have continuously supported our Joint Base Charleston active duty, reservists, retirees and their families. We are grateful, and excited to see them recognized."
Service men and were also frequent performers of the National Anthem at The Joe and the club had honorary commander participation to the annual "Citadel Night" where the famed Summerall Guards perform and the Cadet Chorale sings "The Star Spangled Banner."
Additionally in 2016, the RiverDogs strengthened their ties with the local military community through the hiring of Alfonso Rogers, a recent sport management graduate of The Citadel who previously earned an associate's degree in Aviation / Airway Management and Operations from the Community College of the Air Force in 2014, as a sales executive. Rogers also served as president of the Student Veterans of America while at the Military College of South Carolina.
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