For Virginia Intermont baseball player John Carbone, life is about more than winning competition. The senior from Syracuse, N.Y. who plays catcher for the VI Cobras team has found a way to combine his love for sports with a community outreach project that honors the United States Armed Forces.
For the second year, Carbone has organized a special "Armed Forces Game" to salute veterans and those currently serving in the United States military forces. On April 21, the VI baseball team will host the second annual event at DeVault Memorial Stadium in Bristol, where the Cobras will take on the Milligan College Buffaloes. The game is at 1:00 p.m. with pre-game festivities beginning around noon. Admission is free and all Armed Forces men and women, friends and fans are invited.
"I've always felt something special towards our veterans and servicemen and want to honor them," said Carbone. "They can never get enough recognition for all they do and their sacrifices. It's something that should be out there more."
The pre-game celebration will include a complimentary lunch on the field for Armed Forces veterans and servicemen, special recognitions and a color guard ceremony. Veterans will make the first pitch after the national anthem is sung and presentation of the colors. The event coincides with VI Alumni Weekend and a wide array of campus events.
"If our season extended into May we'd have it closer to Armed Forces Day, celebrated May 19, 2012," said Carbone who is studying sport management at VI. "Last year's game was a great success and this year we really want to pack the stadium."
Carbone has turned the project into a sport management internship, gaining experience with event management and working with local organizations and area sports teams for sponsorship and support. He has raised funds and in-kind donations to cover the cost of special team jerseys and cookout supplies for the honorees. Prizes to be raffled or auctioned at the event include University of Tennessee football tickets, Atlanta Braves tickets, hotel stays and restaurant dinners. All proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warrior Foundation. Individuals or organizations wishing to make a donation should contact Carbone.
"John has shown such compassion and enthusiasm in reaching out in the community with this project," said VI President Clorisa Phillips. "He is creative and talented and I'm continually impressed with not only what a commendable job he is doing, but his efforts are all to recognize others, not for himself."
Carbone got his interest in VI baseball at an early age while attending a game of his cousin who played for the VI Cobras in the late 1990's. VI Athletic Director Chris Holt was the baseball coach at the time and suited the young Carbone up in a jersey and installed him as bat boy. Years later, although Carbone had offers to play ball at other colleges, he returned to VI as a team standout.
Veterans and servicemen and women who expect to attend the Armed Forces game are asked to contact Carbone at 315 491-2942 or email@example.com to facilitate planning for the cookout. All are welcome!
We would like to thank the Atlanta Braves organization and the University of Tennessee for provided the tickets that will be raffled off at the event.