Eight…Eighties Are Title Sponsors of Freedom Classic

Kinston, N.C. (February 5, 2013) – The Freedom Classic is coming soon, and the Eight…Eighties of Kinston are in the process of visiting area bases to talk about the upcoming baseball series while they deliver C-shirts to wounded warriors.  Their goal is to bring 3,000 members of the military and their families to Kinston for an outing at Historic Grainger Stadium.  Why? They simply want to say thank you.

The Eight…Eighties group, also known as the Wounded Warrior Team, is a title sponsor for the 3rd Annual Freedom Classic, a series that will bring the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy to Historic Grainger Stadium for a four-game event, February 22-24.

Eighty-four-year old June Rose is a retired colonel and president of the Eight…Eighties.   He visited Camp LeJeune on Saturday to deliver free admission tickets and to spread the word.

“We want our military to know that we support them and that we appreciate their commitment to our country,” said Rose who served in the Marine Corps and the North Carolina National Guard before retiring in 1989.   “We hope they’ll come out and enjoy a weekend dedicated to them and their families.  We’ll give them a hot dog and a soda and hope they’ll enjoy a ball game.”

Rose has been honored for his long and storied history of service and his spirit of service to his fellow man.  Rose opened a one-room dental clinic 15 years ago in Kinston to provide needed dental care for underserved families.  He’s also been recognized countless times for his volunteer work in the community.

“The Eight…Eighties is one of the most worthwhile efforts out there,” said Rose.  “If there’s anything we can do to help out with job creation and support our military, we want to do it.”

Meanwhile, Fred Hunneke (85), Buddy Ritch (84) and Guy Skinner (95) went down the All-American Freeway last week to promote the Freedom Classic at Fort Bragg.  It had been years since any of them had been on base.  In the 1950s, Ritch had been with the 82nd Airborne Division, training men to shoot artillery while Guy Skinner did his basic training on WWI horse drawn artillery in 1941 — before Pearl Harbor.  While there, they delivered tickets to the MWR, and their favorite part of the day was seeing the wounded battalion.  After dining with the soldiers, the men got to see the new quarters designed to help soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  They also got to meet some of the residents.

“Getting to see the WTB Complex was a highlight for all of us,” said Fred Hunneke, one of three founding members of the Eight…Eighties. “In addition to creating jobs, we want to minister to our young soldiers returning from war.  All of us in the Eight…Eighties served during war time, and we want these young people to feel supported.”

The Eight…Eighties shook hands with soldiers and gave them gifts, C-shirts sponsored by many supporters across the United States who have purchased the shirts since November.  Hunneke explained the program.  “When someone buys a C-shirt for $20, one is put aside to give to a wounded soldier.  The cost pays people in North Carolina to produce two of our signature wick-a-way shirts,” said Hunneke.   “The Eight…Eighties make no profit from this program.  All money goes to create jobs in North Carolina.”

The Eight…Eighties are inviting all active military and their families to attend the Freedom Classic.  Admission to the stadium will be free along with concessions (a hot dog and drink).  A wounded warrior will throw out the first pitch, and there will be C-shirt giveaways.  The weekend event will be held on Friday, February 22nd – Sunday, February, 24th.  Following is the game schedule:

Friday, February 22nd at 6 p.m.; Saturday, February 23rd at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. andSunday, February 24th at 12:30 p.m.

Active military and family can attend one game or all 4 games at no charge.  Ticket vouchers are available on areas bases, but military may also present a badge for admission.  Historic Grainger Stadium is located at 400 East Grainger Avenue in Kinston.

About the Eight…Eighties

The Eight…Eighties, a.k.a. the Wounded Warrior Team, is a group of men over 80 years old who are creating jobs in America by bringing additional work to manufacturing businesses that have a mission to create a “Made in America” label.  They’re also helping to minister to the nation’s wounded warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  They created the C-shirt in Kinston, North Carolina, and every time a shirt is purchased, one is given to a wounded veteran.  The garments are cut and sewn in Vanceboro, N.C., and Fairmont, N.C., and they are embellished at the Lions Industries for the Blind in Kinston. The Eight…Eighties exist solely to bring additional work to manufacturing businesses and to support wounded veterans.  For more information,go to:  http://www.woundedwarriorteam.com/880s.html.

About the Freedom Classic

The Kinston/Lenoir County Parks and Recreation Department host the Freedom Classic at Grainger Stadium annually, offering a fun, affordable event for the entire family to honor and support our military.  Grainger Stadium is known for its old time charm with a seating capacity of 4,100.   Since 1949, it’s been the home of all professional Kinston baseball teams, and most recently the home of the Kinston Indians.  For more information, contact Jenny Inabinet at 252-939-3338.

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