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Military Kids Hit Home Run at Nationals Tribute

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2009 – Military children and their families were honored here yesterday by a troop-support group and others when the Washington Nationals took on the New York Mets.

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Left to right, Riley Anderson, his sister, Olivia, and his brother, Adrian, participate in Tribute to Our Troops, July 21, 2009. Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals, Careerbuilder.com’s "Mission Get Hired" program and troop-support group Our Military Kids joined together for the event at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. As part of this event, 1,500 tickets were given to military families to enjoy an evening of baseball. Riley Anderson threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Nationals’ game with the New York Mets. DoD photo by Sharon Foster

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The Nationals beat the Mets 4-0, but the kids were the winners, as well, at the Nationals’ annual Tribute to Our Troops event. Our Military Kids, a Virginia-based troop-support group, along with WTOP Radio and Careerbuilder.com’s Mission Get Hired participated in the event, which included 1,500 free tickets distributed to Washington, D.C.-area military families through the Our Military Kids office, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and WJLA, a local television station.

“We are thrilled that Careerbuilder.com selected Our Military Kids as their charity of choice, said Gail C. Kruzel, co-founder of Our Military Kids. We are always looking for ways to create awareness about our program.”

This was the first time Our Military Kids participated in the event, in which 10,000 fans received free T-shirts, courtesy of Mission Get Hired.

“Our mission is to be a great resource for U.S. veterans to find employers and educators that value their military background,” said Inga Salavage, of Careerbuilder.com. “Our Web site provides pertinent information and tools for veterans to be successful in their new career search.”

A series of promotional Mission Get Hired ads ran in the Washington area leading up to yesterday’s game.

During the pre-game festivities, WJLA meteorologist Doug Hill and WTOP’s Jeffery Wolinsky presented a $5,000 check to Our Military Kids on behalf of the sponsors and Mission Get Hired.

“This money will be used by Our Military Kids to provide grants that cover sports, fine arts and tutoring programs for the children of our deployed reserve and National Guard forces and to the children of our severely injured military members,” Kruzel said.

At the start of the game, 14-year-old Riley Anderson of Ashburn, Va., an Our Military Kids grant recipient, threw out the game’s ceremonial first pitch. Anderson, whose father is deployed, received a grant to cover fees to participate on his local baseball team this summer.

“I am excited to be here,” Riley said. “I am also excited about my grant award. I think events like this help kids enjoy family time.”

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageLeft to right, Charles Wood, Adonis Hardwargt and Allana Hardwargt enjoy the pre-game show before they take their seats to see the Washington Nationals take on the New York Mets at the 2009 Tribute to Our Troops event at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., July 21, 2009. DoD photo by Sharon Foster   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageLeft to right, Our Military Kids board member Frederick Smith; Our Military Kids co-founders Linda Davidson and Gail Kruzel; "Mission Get Hired" representative Stan Paul; WJLA meteorologist Doug Hill and WTOP representative Jeffery Wolinsky participate in a ceremony in which Our Military Kids received a $5,000 check at the 2009 Tribute to Our Troops event July 21, 2009, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. DoD photo by Sharon Foster  
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