The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

August 21, 2013

Veterans, firefighters and police to play for charity

DANVILLE — It was VETSports first year in Danville in 2012 as they took part in the long-running Finest vs. Bravest annual charity softball game. This year, they’re back and ready to win some games.

VETSports took the place of the Wounded Warriors veterans team, which came to Danville in 2011. B.T. Urruela, then a member of the Wounded Warriors, came back last year as part of VETSports and is returning again this year for the event.

Urruela is vice president of VETSports and sits on the board of the directors. Despite having lost part of his right leg, Urruela also is a pitcher for the team.

“We’ll bring more competition” this year, Urruela said, adding the team finished its last games in Houston “looking good.”

The VETSports team is comprised of veterans and active duty soldiers who have been injured since 9/11 while serving their country. Last year’s 11-member team included seven amputees, including the catcher, the first- and second-basemen and another infielder.

In past years, police officers and firefighters have squared off against each other for the annual softball games, which have taken place for almost a decade now. It expanded to injured veterans teams two years ago and continues with the three-game series beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday at Danville Stadium.

“It has grown every year,” said Danville Police Officer Jason Dunavan, an event coordinator.

Admission is free but donations will be accepted at the doors. Each year, the event raises money for various charities. Programs funded by past Finest vs. Bravest Charity Softball games include the Friendly Town program, AMBUCS and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

This year, the event is focusing on assisting two Vermilion County residents, Kim Pasley and Alex McMahon, in their individual battles with cancer. McMahon, then 22, was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in May 2011. Pasley was 29 years old when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer and has dealt with two bouts since that time.

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