The St. Louis Cardinals have maintained a close association with the U.S. military for several decades, hailing back to the World War II service of iconic players such as Joe Garagiola, Red Schoendienst and Stan Musial, in addition to beloved sportscaster Jack Buck. The tradition of service to the military continues to this day through the team's support of veterans and the military, which has recently earned them a coveted distinction.
In recognition of their support of the military community, the St. Louis Cardinals organization was recently presented with the 2019 Silver Star Families of America Commendation Award during pre-game ceremonies on the field of Busch Stadium.
A nonprofit based out of Clever, Missouri, the SSFOA's primary mission is to recognize and support veterans who are wounded, injured or have acquired an illness related to their service in a combat zone — regardless of service branch or military conflict.
The commendation can be awarded to military or civilian personnel, departments or organizations who have positively affected the lives of wounded and ill veterans.
Previous commendation recipients include President George W. Bush, Gen. David Petraeus, Ann-Margret, Gary Sinise, the Kansas City Royals, WWE, Veterans Community Project, and the bands 3 Doors Down and Mtley Cre.
This year, the Cardinals were chosen for the honor because of their "unwavering support of the military community by working with charities such as the USO to help raise money for causes in support of veterans; offering free tickets to games for active duty military, veterans and first responders; hosting a 'Military Appreciation Night' and sponsoring visits of Cardinals players and legends to military bases," noted the award citation.
Steven Newton, co-founder and CEO of the SSFOA, said, "Professional baseball has long been recognized as America's pastime and has a history of being very supportive of the veterans' community. We appreciate teams like the St. Louis Cardinals who choose to use their resources and notoriety to demonstrate their appreciation for our military, veterans and their families," he added.
As part of the presentation, SSFOA representatives presented the Cardinals with a plaque, Silver Star Families service flags and coins.
Acknowledging the distinction of the award, Michael Hall, vice president of community relations and director of Cardinals Care, said, "The team is honored to receive the Silver Star Families 2019 Commendation Award. We greatly appreciate the support they provide to members of the military."
Jeremy P. Amick writes on behalf of the Silver Star Families of America.