Mustang Softball Association (MSA) and Mustang Youth Baseball (MYB) are giving back to an organization that helps veterans.
MSA and MYB presented a check of $13,000 to the Warriors For Freedom Foundation (WFF) during the June 20 City Council meeting.
“This is my fifth year that I get to do this presentation and it’s just something so humbling that we get to do here as a city. It’s a great team of Mustang Softball Association and Mustang Youth Baseball,” Nic Bailey said as presenting Brett Dick, cofounder of WFF.
WFF is a non-profit organization that provides support to veterans and their families through recreational and social activities, scholarships and veteran suicide and mental health awareness—specifically Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and Combat Stress Reaction (CSR).
“We work with physically and mentally wounded veterans. We also work a little bit with active duty… We do all kinds of outdoor activities and social activities to get veterans, men and women of any era, to come and participate and work hopefully on mental health. That’s our end goal is to work with that on any level—whatever that level may be in society. For some, it’s a giant step and for some, it’s just a small step. We’re just kind of re-acclimating after being in the military a long time, trying to figure out what’s that next step. We just do our best. We our unique to the Oklahoma area,” Dick said.
WFF started a scuba program this year and have already had seven people go through certification.
“That’s just one of the many things that this kind of extra money provides us—that we can come out and try some new things. They’re all from different walks of life and all from different aspects and we want to make sure we try to reach those in any way we can,” Dick said.
MSA and MYB has hosted a “Warrior Weekend” every year for the past five years.
“Something that’s very unique about this event that we do here is we had a team that came in and there was a veteran there who had lost a lot of men when he was in service. He gave all the kids the names of the men that he had served with and lost and he had the kids read the bios of each one of them. I thought that was very astounding. I had not seen it, I don’t know if you all had, but I think it was the first time. It was very heart and it really meant a lot to those kids who may not have really understand why they’re wearing that jersey or who that was,” Dick added.
“I thought it was a very humbling experience. I think as this is growing, we’re all growing with the process. That’s what’s been fun about this for us is every year we have several meetings to try to figure out how we can do better, how we can do more, how can we get more teams in, and it’s been an honor for us to be here now five years in a row. We’re very thankful and very appreciative.”
Warrior Weekend was hosted at the beginning of May. Between softball and baseball, 91 teams participated in the event, and more than 60 flags were flown around the park. The Mustang Fire Department also helped with their large American Flag.
“The Warriors For Freedom organization really works hard to help us bring this event on. There’s some organizations that simply would accept the check and not do anything, but they were here all three days with a booth. We had 22 raffle items that mostly came from them,” Bailey said.
Ward II councilman and veteran Josh Leete, who suffers from PTSD, wanted WFF to know how much what they do for veterans means to him.
“Many of you know, some of you don’t, that I, myself, am a veteran. You’ve seen the dog walking around with me—that’s part of it. I’m a wounded warrior as well, and this is special. What you guys are doing chokes me up. It really does. I’m extremely proud of all of you. I thank you for what you’re doing,” Leete said. “One thing you don’t know is when a service member retires, one of the last things they get, it’s the most prized gift that they get, is called the shadow box. It’s something that is proudly displayed in a veteran’s home after they retire. I love mine, but a little while ago, one of my old troops had just retired. He asked me to be part of his ceremony and well I got a flag from him. I came out here on that day, the day that this all stated, Mr. (Tim) Rooney and I ran that flag up the flag pole and then I presented that to him at his retirement ceremony. His name is AJ. He’s a fantastic man. At the center piece of his shadow box is a flag that flew day one in the morning for that reason, for what y’all are doing. I explained that to him and he got choked up. Thank you again.”