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Veterans in Fort Myers hit the ball field with former major league players

Over 30 wounded military veterans attended the United States Open Baseball Fantasy Camp
Posted at 5:32 PM, Jan 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-29 17:32:22-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — From the batting cages, to the baseball mound, the impact of America’s pastime, for some of America’s wounded military veterans goes beyond the ball field.

Jason Larzelere an Air Force Veteran spoke with Fox 4 at the Warriors SOAR sponsored, United States Open Baseball Fantasy Camp in Fort Myers.

“How can you not be romantic about baseball, because it's just a great game,” said Larzelere.

Warriors S.O.A.R (Support, Outreach, Assistance, Recovery) is a non-profit, founded in 2017 by Major Shannon Blake, (US Army, retired).

The non profit said its mission is to assist in the healing and reintegration of wounded veterans through different activities like Baseball.

Larzelere, credits the game of baseball for helping him after his career in the military was over.

“Baseball was kind of my scapegoat it was the only way i would get out of the house unfortunately for a lot of veterans especially veterans battling any kind of disabilities, PTSD, they tend to stay inside,” said Larzelere.

Former Major League Baseball players who were in attendance at the Baseball Fantasy Camp included from the Boston Red Sox Gary Allenson, Gary Bell,  Tom Burgmeier, Steve Crawford, Pat Dodson, Steve Lyons, Marc Sullivan.   

Former Players from the Chicago Cubs attending camp are Tim Stoddard, Mike Remlinger, Ray Burris and Bobby Dernier.   

Former players from the Baltimore Orioles attending camp are Al Bumbry,  Mike Bordick, Rick Dempsey, Tom Neidenfurer, Gregg Olson, Gary Roenicke and Mike Torres.    They will all serve as coaches and managers during the camp.