Continuing a long-standing tradition as "The Team of the Military," the San Diego Padres will honor the world's greatest fighting forces at Major League Baseball's only "Military Opening Night," tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
New this year, the Padres are giving fans an opportunity to support military families by purchasing unique camouflage wristbands. The wristbands, embossed with the slogan "For Those Who Serve" along with the Padres logo, will be available for $2.00 at PETCO Park on Wednesday night. Proceeds benefit the Zachary & Elizabeth Fisher House at Naval Medical Center San Diego.
"We are proud to provide even more programs to support the military, especially with one in five troops currently deployed coming from San Diego" said Captain Jack Ensch, USN (Retired), Director of Military Marketing for the Padres. "Military Opening Night, and now the wristband campaign, are just two of the ways we say thank you to the men, women and families of our armed forces."
An international organization with 32 locations, each Fisher House serves as a "home away from home" for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Since 1990, the nationwide Fisher House program has served more than 8,500 families annually, and has made more than 1,500,000 days of lodging available.
"Especially in times like these, the Fisher House provides a critical service to military families," said David Esposito, manager of the Fisher House at Naval Medical Center San Diego. "We greatly appreciate the support of the San Diego Padres and their generous fans."
Following Wednesday's game, the wristbands will be available only through the following outlets:
• Online at www.padres.com
• North Island Federal Credit Union (all local branches)
• Navy Federal Credit Union (all local branches)
• USA Federal Credit Union (all local branches)
• U.S.S. Midway souvenir shop
• San Diego USOs
• San Diego MWR outlets
In addition to the launch of the wristband program, Military Opening Night will feature an extensive lineup of military salutes and celebrations, including:
• A performance by the United States Navy Parachute Team "The Leap Frogs"
• Recognition of 32 military personnel award winners from throughout the region.
• The Star-Spangled Banner performed by the Navy Band Southwest's Marching Band, under the direction of Lieutenant Dale Yager and led by Drum Major MU1 Chris Cornette.
• The Marine Corps Recruit Depot Color Guard will present colors, along with the Fifty-State Flag Team from the Navy Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center, San Diego.
• A flyover by two HH-60J Jayhawks based at US Coast Guard Sector San Diego.
The Padres will also wear their fan-favorite camouflage military jerseys, with, for the first time, matching military-green batting helmets. This is the tenth consecutive year the Padres have designated a distinct Opening Game for the military, and the sixth consecutive year the team has worn camouflage jerseys.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski