Daleville High School's baseball team will participate in the 2016 Bojangles Hits For Heroes games.
Hits For Heroes partners with the USO to send care packages to deployed service members, and has more recently taken steps to reach out to the area's wounded veterans.
This year's games will be played Feb. 13-20 at Northcutt Field in Dothan, Feb. 29-April 6 at Eagle Stadium in Ozark and April 18 at Warren Field in Enterprise.
The Warhawks are scheduled to play Zion Chapel at 7 p.m. Feb. 29 in the first Hits For Heroes game at Eagle Stadium in Ozark.
"We thought it would be a really cool idea to partner America's pastime with America's heroes," Hits for Heroes representative Angela Dunning said at the Jan. 6 meeting of the Enterprise Lions Club. "We put together a weekend of baseball games, and decided all of the gate money would go to Hits for Heroes."
Hits for Heroes raised $12,000 its first year, $24,000 the second and $62,000 last year.
"We had 24 teams last year, and this year we already have 36 teams committed to play," Dunning said. "It's a very simple concept. We invite teams to play. They don't pay an entry fee. Our idea was to raise awareness and to teach these young adults, who are going to be our future, how to appreciate our military."
The players wear school-specific, camouflage jerseys for the games, and players who have parents or siblings in the military receive Hits For Heroes dog tags.
The program has continued to grow and has partnered with Jeep Sullivan's Wounded Warriors' Outdoor Adventures, which is a nonprofit organization aimed at helping combat-wounded veterans and their families with time in the outdoors and fellowship.
"Last year, in 2015, we took 47 different soldiers on 107 what we call engagement opportunities," Sullivan said. "Most of those went on a couple of different outings with us."
One of those soldiers is Jeremy Cabaniss, who joined the Army in 2004, and served in the 101st Airborne. He was deployed to Bagdad, Iraq, in 2005, and in early 2006 he was hit by an improvised explosive device.
"In July of 2006, that's when I was evacuated from the second I.E.D. I endured," Cabaniss said. "I was sent to Germany and back to the states."
The attacks left Cabaniss with traumatic brain injury.
"I suffered frontal lobe damage," he said. "The whole traumatic brain injury thing was new to the Army back then. I just had to do physical therapy, occupational therapy and some scans. I had some balance problems, and speech (problems). You didn't really understand me back then. I stuttered a lot. (There was) depression, anxiety (and) anger. (I was) just not my regular self, not a happy guy."
Cabaniss medically retired from the Army, and had treatments through the Veterans Administration and private doctors. He found Sullivan's organization three years ago, and also found a support group within it.
"We ended up having a group, kind of a brotherhood," Cabaniss said. "We just kind of stay together. We're tighter than anybody I went to high school with. We're tighter than anybody I went to combat with. If we're having an issue we'll text each other. We call each other every week, sometimes every day. That's who we go on trips with."
Cabaniss, who said he has grown spiritually as a part of Sullivan's organization, has changed with time in the outdoors.
"I talked to one (friend) I went hunting with this past weekend, and he told me he's seen a change in me," he said. "He was telling me how I've progressed these past three years. It's (not) just getting out to go hunting. It's the fellowship with each other. It also helps our wives. They have taken on more stress than us."
Since his injury, Cabaniss said Sullivan's organization has given to him and shown him how to give to others as well.
"He's also shown us how not to receive, but to help each other and give back to the community," he said. "Instead of us just sitting on our rears like I used to just feeling sorry for myself, I'm actually finally getting up and getting back into the community."
The veteran also said he recently learned about the Hits For Heroes games.
"I love baseball," Cabaniss said. "(Sullivan) told me about (Hits for Heroes), and I'm really excited about that."
The community is invited to enjoy the games and support veterans during this year's Hits for Heroes events.
"When you see that, when you hear about it, please come out and support a team and our cause," Dunning said. "We would love to have as many faces there at the Enterprise game, Dothan or Ozark as possible."