Veterans vs. First Responders charity softball game remembers 9/11

Strikes for Stripes raises funds for Hero Services
Charity softball game raises funds for Hero Services, remembers 9/11
Posted at 2:08 AM, Sep 12, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Every American remembers where they were the minute the world stopped.

"I woke up, did everything normal and turned on the TV and it was like a dream, it was like, that didn't happen," said Ron VanderMeer, a now retired Kent County Sheriff's Deputy and Army veteran.

Softball game honors 9/11

Tyler Betterly says September 11, 2001 is what made him pursue his military dreams.

"I was a sophomore in high school and the world just shut down and that's kind of the start for me and my goal of being in the Marines," Betterly said.

20 years later, local veterans and first responders met at DeWitt Field at Cornerstone University for a charity softball game called 'Strikes for Stripes'.

"This is just a way for us to get together, remember all the fallen, the civilians, the military, law enforcement, everyone that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can do this," VanderMeer added.

First responders vs. veterans softball game remembers 9/11

Bobby Hull is a United States Navy Veteran and took part in playing in the game.

"It's full of respect," she said, "you walk on the field and you're with fellow veterans and with first responders, especially considering what happened 20 years ago, it's just great."

The proceeds from the evening all go to Hero Services, a non-profit here in West Michigan that helps local first responders and veterans with anything they need, including financial assistance, medical needs and counseling.

"Hero services is a fantastic organization that provides so many resources to veterans and first responders," said Matt Potter, an EMT for Rockford Ambulance, "it's hard to find a non-profit like this one."

Jordan White served in the United States Navy and is the founder of Hero Services.

He says the charity softball game was an extremely important way to not only help his organization, but honor those who sacrificed and gave the ultimate price on the tragic day.

"To be able to put something on like this and provide the resources we're providing and continue this memory is very important to me," White said.

'Strikes for Stripes' charity softball game

Nobody knows the need for veteran and first responder resources than Ron VanderMeer, who has been in both positions prior to his recent retirement.

"On the military side, we're a quiet group and hold a lot of things in, first responders hold a lot of things in, we don't want anyone to know that we're hurting or thinking things that can hurt us," he added, "we want everyone to know that we're here for you and that's what tonight is about."

Complete with a flyover, laughs, and friendly competition, it's safe to say the Strikes for Stripes for Hero Services softball game was a success.

"It's not that we're celebrating," Hull made clear, "we don't want to ever celebrate this, it's a remembrance day, it's a day of remembering and never forgetting what had happened."

For more information on Hero Services, click here.