Charleston VA hosts Welcome Home event at RiverDogs Military Appreciation Game

Veterans and current military members can learn more about health care and services offered at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center during the facility’s Welcome Home event held in conjunction with the Charleston RiverDogs Military Appreciation Game on Saturday, Aug. 11. The game starts at 6:05 p.m. at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park with the RiverDogs taking on Maryland’s Hagerstown Suns.

The RiverDogs have partnered with Boeing to host a fourth military appreciation game this summer and will honor local service members and their families with a free ticket to the baseball game. Charleston VA hopes to enhance the veterans’ game experience by providing free meal vouchers to the first 140 visitors who present at the VA outreach table with a valid military ID or other proof of service. Each meal voucher is good for a hot dog, chips and a drink through the ballpark food vendor.

All active and retired service members can receive up to four complementary tickets to the game at the Riley Park box office on Saturday or by visiting the Charleston VA to pick up their ticket vouchers in advance. Vouchers are also available online at https://www.milb.com/charleston/tickets/veterans.

“Our Welcome Home events are held yearly and are really designed to meet veterans where they are and actively engage them with VA,” said George Webb, Charleston VAMC’s Transition and Care Management Program Manager. “We aim to help veterans integrate back into civilian life once they leave the military and connect them with the programs VA has to offer. Our partnership with the RiverDogs in recent years has proven very useful toward that goal.”

This is the second year Charleston VA has teamed up with the RiverDogs to outreach to and celebrate veterans through a collaborative Welcome Home event. Representatives from Transition and Care Management, Eligibility, Women’s Program, Voluntary Service, Minority Veteran Program, MyHealtheVet and more will be available to answer questions about VA services.

“We are proud to partner with Boeing to host an additional military appreciation game this season while shedding light on an important resource for veterans and troops coming home through our partnership with the Charleston VA,” said RiverDogs President and General Manager Dave Echols. “We’re thrilled to open our gates to all active and retired service members for a night out at the ballpark.”

Saturday’s pre-game ceremony will also feature the announcement of The Citadel Foundation’s first recipient of the PFC Ralph H. Johnson, USMC, MOH, Scholarship, which is presented in honor of Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center’s namesake, a Veteran who was killed in action in Vietnam after diving on a grenade to save the lives of his fellow Marines. Johnson’s sister, Helen Richards, and other members of the Johnson family will be on hand to congratulate the family of the recipient. The scholarship was established in coordination with the commissioning of the Navy’s USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), a destroyer that joined the fleet during a ceremony here in Charleston earlier this year.

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