About two months ago, the Joplin Outlaws reached out to FMI’s Joplin Director, Jimmy Burgess to put together and run Military Appreciation Night at Joe Becker Stadium. He happily accepted and took the reigns, leading the Outlaws to have their best showing this season and raising money for the Heartland Canines for Veterans. Heartland is a non-profit organization that helps place service dogs with Veterans who need them.
With an incredible show of support and love from the Joplin Community, fans poured into the seats to enjoy a fun filled night full of good baseball, service dogs, Veterans and good food. Red’s House BBQ and Cheezies Pizza were in attendance feeding the masses and both contributed to Heartland.
The atmosphere was amazing as the Joplin Outlaws took on the Joplin All-Stars in a non-league game. The game started with a memorable first pitch made by service dog, Athena. She was sent in to pitch after the decision was made by Outlaw coach, Danny Weaver, when he noticed the Master Trainer, Tim Franks of On Command Canine Training needed the help of his service dog to complete the task.
Between the 2nd and 3rd innings fans got to see the product of hard work and dedication of both service dog and Veteran. Two dogs, Lucas and Rapha, after completing over 260 hours of training were partnered with their Veterans, Katie and Brad. They also had to complete over 40 hours of training before becoming Team Leaders over their HK9s.
Currently it costs in the ballpark of $7000 to properly train a service dog. If you would like to help, you can go to Heartland Canines for Veteran’s web page: http://www.heartlandcaninesforveterans.com.
Check out the First pitch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQZ6AgKmJH4
Check out the Graduation Ceremony here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx6HfhmVyKE
A special thanks to all those that made July 1st possible, including all of the vendors, contributors, the Joplin Outlaws, The Joplin Chamber of Commerce, fans and friends, thank you from Forward March Inc. and the Heartland Canines for Veterans.