UIC Baseball Hosts 9/11 Dinner for Service Men and Women

Flames players and service officers talk and dine together.
Flames players and service officers talk and dine together.

Sept. 12, 2012

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CHICAGO – On a day that is etched into the hearts and minds of every American, the UIC Baseball team used this year’s anniversary of Sept. 11 to honor Chicago’s service men and women by hosting a dinner at the team’s home of Les Miller Field.  More than 75 military, police and fire officials were welcomed by the team members and coaches and thanked for their commitment to serve.  

The event was focused on three core values that the UIC baseball team utilizes as pillars for its program; selflessness, relentlessness and a commitment to excellence.  A member of the military, fire and police department each spoke to the crowd about one of those values and how they’ve seen it displayed throughout their careers.  Addressing the group was Lieutenant Colonel Pete Farrell, Lieutenant and Paramedic Joe Rimkus and UIC Police Chief John Richardson.

The dinner was coordinated by the baseball coaching staff who stressed the core values and personally thanked the service men and women for their commitment.

“We feel safe at home,” said assistant coach Sean McDermott. “And we feel safe at home, in Chicago and in this great nation because of everybody here today.  Things that you do that go unnoticed and never get seen, we really appreciate.”

Also in attendance was Palatine Fire Chief Scott Andersen, father of freshman pitcher Jack Andersen.  Chief Andersen sat down with and reflected what he remembers about Sept. 11, 2001 and how he feels about being honored by UIC and his son.

“In the fire service, Sept. 11 is a very emotional day,” said Chief Andersen. “I was on-duty that day 11 years ago and it was a day just like today.  When we saw the first report we cancelled training and it seemed like the world had stopped.  Later that afternoon when everything had sunk in, there was a huge whole in our hearts, but also a great since of pride for being an American and a fire fighter knowing that we can be called into do that at any time.”

Player Comments After the Event

Alex Grunenwald, Sr.

“To be surrounded by those types of people was really special.  It was an honor to serve those who serve our city, state and country and I know the whole team felt that way.  It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday problems of a student-athlete, but after talking with them you put a lot into perspective.”

Alex De LaRosa, RS-Sr.

“What an awesome event.  I really enjoyed it.  We just wanted those people to know that we support and respect what they do.  I thought it was a great day for our program to show that our core values align with the people who serve our country.”