ST. PAUL, MN (July 2, 2012) – Mom is often seen as the foundation of any family. She is the glue that holds everything together in good times and bad. The matriarch of the family is that much more important when her children enter the military and fight for the freedom of our great country. That is just one of the reasons the St. Paul Saints will honor Military Moms on July 3 presented by Snapple and Cub Foods. In addition the Independence Day Celebration Post-Game Fireworks Super Show will follow the game.
The ceremony will take place following the conclusion of the 6:00 p.m. continuation game between the Lincoln Saltdogs and Saints. That game was suspended because of the league’s midnight curfew on June 20 in Lincoln in the top of the seventh inning with the Saints leading 8-2. The regularly scheduled nine inning game will begin after the Military Mom’s Ceremony.
The military awards four different stars to mothers who have children serving in the military: Blue Star means a mom has or had a family member serving in the military, a Veteran Star means a mom has a family member that honorably served in the military, a Silver Star means a mom has a family member that was injured during service and a Gold Star means a mom has a family member that died serving our country.
The Saints will honor a Mom from each of the four categories. Judi Hamilton and her son Tom and Terri Hetrick and her son Troy Holland (Blue Star), Chris Cerecedes and her sons Jerry and Steven (Veteran Star), Cathy Lake and her son Derek Lee Goodridge (Silver Star) and Jill Stephenson and her son Ben Kopp (Gold Star).
Judi Hamilton’s son Tom is a Chief Warrant Officer 3 in the United States Army. He is a Dustoff Medical Pilot and home on leave from Germany. A graduate of Cretin-Durham Hall he attended basic training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and then Fort Eustis, VA for aviation training. He became a Blackhawk pilot in 2002 and was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for his work in Egypt in 2003 when he searched for a downed airliner. He is currently stationed at the 236th Air Evac at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany with his wife and daughter.
Terri Hetrick’s son Troy Holland is serving in the Minnesota National Guard. Troy, from Circle Pines, graduated from Centennial High School. He joined the Army in 2007 and attended training at the U.S. Military Police School in Fort Leonard Wood, MO. He was deployed in September of 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for 13 months. After completing his five year active duty in January, 2012 he re-enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard and is currently attached to the 1-94 CAV. Among his many awards he’s received are the Iraq campaign medal and Good Conduct Medal.
Christina Cerecedes’ two sons, Specialists Gerardo (Jerry) and Steven Cerecedes, are former Minnesota National Guard Red Bulls. The brothers joined together and left for boot camp in 2008. In 2009, while attending Advanced School of Training at Fort Hauchuca in Arizona, their father deployed to Iraq. Jerry was deployed to Afghanistan in June of 2011 and is with A Co. 1/34 BSTB UAV and is an UAV operator. Steven was deployed to Afghanistan in April of 2011 and is with the A Co. 1/34 BSTB, Military Intelligence. The brothers deployed at the same time, but to different locations in Afghanistan. Their paths did cross one day in Jallalada Air Field where they enjoyed a few hours together.
Cathy Lake’s son Derek Lee Goodridge is a United States Marine with the 3/5 Darkhorse. He enlisted in the Marine Corps while he was in high school in 2006. His different tours of duty include stops in Jaboodie, Guantanamo Bay, Jordan and Bhraine. He re-enlisted and volunteered to go to Afghanistan. Five months into his deployment he was out doing a sweep with guys from his unit when he spotted an IED. As his Staff Sergeant went to step around it, the Sergeant stepped on another IED right by it blowing up himself, Derek and another Marine. Derek’s injuries included the loss of his right arm, both of the backsides of his legs, multiple scrap metal wounds to his backside which also punctured his lungs. He spent almost five months in the hospital with over 20 surgeries and numerous therapies. He is still a Marine waiting for his retirement from the military.
Jill Stephenson’s son Corporal Benjamin Kopp joined the Army to honor the life and WWII service of his great grandfather and to vindicate the events of 9/11. Ben joined the Army during his senior year of high school and was a rifleman assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, GA. Ben was on his third deployment in support of the War on Terror with two previous deployments in Iraq. He was seriously wounded during a combat operation in Southern Afghanistan on July 10, 2009. Ben was medically evacuated through Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he died as a result of his wounds on July 18. Benn was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal.
The Saints will don sand camouflage style jerseys during the game. Each jersey will be signed by the player and auctioned off with the proceeds benefitting Minnesota Military Family Foundation (MMFF).
The MMFF is a community-supported fund founded in November 2004. Contributions are made by people who understand that there are many sacrifices that military families make and want to help soften the extraordinary financial hardships that may occur when a family member is deployed by providing a financial safety net.
“This is always an extremely special day for our organization and fans,” said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer. “Honoring these Mom’s, who represent Mom’s all over this country who have a child in the military, is just our way of saying ‘Thanks’ to the men and women who fight for our country and the mothers that keep the family safe and secure at home.”
In effort to ensure that as many current and former military families as possible are able to enjoy this Independence Celebration with the Saints 1,500 free tickets have been made available thanks to the generosity of Snapple and Cub Foods.
The Minnesota National Guard will present the colors and the Minnesota Chorales will sing the National Anthem. Following the game one of the longest, loudest and most colorful fireworks shows in the area will conclude this special evening.
In seasons past the Saints have honored Women in the Military, the Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, the Wounded Warrior Project, Vietnam Veterans and Minnesotan’s in the Military. The Independence Day Game has traditionally drawn about 9,000 fans including a record crowd of 9.312 on July 6, 2007.
Tickets are available for the July 3 Independence Day game starting at $8 for general admission, $11 for outfield reserved and $15 for infield reserved.
Tickets for all other home games are available starting at $5 for general admission, $8 for outfield reserved and $12 for infield reserved. Friday Home Games with post-game fireworks (except July 3, September) are an additional $2 per ticket. The September 2 game also features extended post-game fireworks and is an additional $3 per ticket. Tickets purchased on the Day of the Game are an additional $1 per ticket. Children under the age of 12 and seniors 65 and older receive $1 off the admission price. Children under 2 that don’t require a seat are free.
Tickets for all Saints regular season home games are available now in person at the Saints Box Office, by phone at 651-644-6659 or online at saintsbaseball.com.