BENNINGTON -- The Southwest Vermont Career Development Center's Sports and Entertainment Management program has worked with the Vermont Veterans' Home to honor veterans at Friday's Mount Anthony Union High School baseball game.

The idea for the Veterans Appreciation Baseball Game came when students in the class were tasked by teacher Billy Obenauer to find a creative way to market a local sporting event. After studying marketing strategies used by professional and college teams, the students found they, "really liked the idea to do something to honor veterans," Obenauer said. The students reached out to both the Veterans Home and MAU athletics director Tim Brown, and the idea for the game was born.

"When they approached Tim Brown with the idea, he was thrilled," said Obenauer, who is in his first year of teaching the brand new program at the CDC. The game, designed as a kick-off to Memorial Day weekend, will feature Otter Valley Union Otters, from Brandon, taking on the MAU Patriots. Currently, 11 veterans are signed up to be transported from the Veterans Home to the game, where they will be honored prior to the singing of the National Anthem, and will sit in special reserved seats. One veteran will throw out the first pitch.

The event will also include an activity center for children, featuring various games, including a tennis event hosted by the Bennington Tennis Center, a hockey-puck shooting event hosted by the Albany Devils, a beanbag toss, face painting, and numerous field day races.


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The activity center opens at 3:30 p.m., will close temporarily at 4 for the veterans ceremony and the singing of the national anthem, and will reopen at the start of the game at 4:30.

"As the Sports and Entertainment Management class began to plan this event, we saw it as a great opportunity to honors the veterans, as well as an opportunity to collaborate with the Vermont Veterans' Home," wrote CDC student Otis Selib in a press release, "Being that the event is on the Friday before Memorial Day, we saw it as a chance to kick off Memorial Day Weekend by bringing together the community to honor the veterans. By having the Activity Center, we hope to encourage kids of all ages to come to this free event and participate in funs games, as well as have an opportunity to honor the people who risked their lives for our freedom."

"It is so fitting, and appropriate, that our Mount Anthony and CDC students have taken the initiative to honor our local war heroes with a Veterans Appreciation Day at a home baseball game," said Brown, "This is a great way for our school community to say thank you to the residents and employees at the Vermont Veterans' Home by recognizing them with a celebration of activities."

"Working on the Veterans Appreciation Event is a great opportunity for our students to honor our veterans while also coordinating an event that helps bring the community together.

More information, including a schedule of events, can be found at the event's website, sites.google.com/site/veteransappreciationgame2014

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB