The Emerald Coast Rotary Club in conjunction with the City of Panama City Beach will be hosting the 10th Miracle League Veterans Game on Tuesday, April 12th at Frank Brown Park where they will roll out the green carpet and give veterans the full VIP treatment. Thirty to forty veterans from the Sims Veterans Nursing Home will be given a plush ride on a tour bus with a police escort across town to play a simple game of baseball…in wheelchairs and walkers! The Sims Veterans have served in every branch of the military including serving in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Most are now in their 80’s and 90’s.
The veterans will be greeted by a flag line of supporters including the Warrior Watch Riders, Soldiers Angels and the Mosley HS ROTC. During the “First Inning Stretch” of this one or two inning game, the Mosley High JROTC will put on a rifle demonstration for the veterans. Many of the volunteers will serve as “buddies” to help the veterans around the bases and field.
“It is great to see our younger generations paying their respects to the generations before them,” says game founder Dave Johnson. Johnson has been a Panama City Beach DJ / MC for 30 years. He’s called the “Voice of the Miracle League” because he plays music and “calls the game”. Johnson adds, “We are all there to give our thanks to these American heroes for their service and to let them know they are not forgotten.” This game marks a special milestone as the 10th Miracle League Veterans Game.
“With nine games now on the books, it is sad to think about the players that have passed since we started this event in November 2011 but we also bring this experience to new players every game,” Johnson said. “Each game usually has about half of the veterans coming back as ‘returning players’ and half of them as new ‘rookies’. For some, this event is their last hoorah!”
Gayle Oberst will be making her final ‘first pitch’ as the Mayor of Panama City Beach and Tom Kane, USN Vietnam, will take the mound for the game…but every veteran will get a hit! The veterans will be treated to a picnic lunch after the game.
The Miracle League Veterans Game is a semi-annual event with a “Spring Training” game in April and “Fall Classic’” in November as a celebration of Veterans Day. Batter Up!
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Founding President (2013-2015)