You are invited to round up at least 10 of your nearest and dearest and put a team together to knock it out of the park for the first Hits for Heroes baseball tourney at Ray Twinney Recreation Centre in Newmarket this July.
The day-long fundraising event is hosted by Renos for Heroes, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2010 by HGTV Real Renos star Jim Caruk that modifies the homes of injured veterans on projects not covered by government funding.
Proceeds from Hits for Heroes will go to Cadence Health and Wellness, a Newmarket business founded in October 2017 by husband-and-wife team Chris and Angel Dupee. Cadence’s team provide mental health treatment and support for veterans, specifically, as well as their families, who often suffer second-hand trauma.
The clinic’s focus is on veterans, active military members and first responders such as police officers and firefighters, but services are also available to the general public.
The couple’s first foray into the mental health industry began in 2011, when Dupee founded the first-ever social media platform, Military Minds, to help military members and veterans struggling on the continuum of an occupational stress injury and PTSD, and to break the stigma of mental health.
The online hub now boasts about 130,000 members in Canada, the U.S., Australia and Great Britain, who are connected to the help they need through the platform. It, too, will benefit from funds raised at Hits for Heroes.
“We often get people who come to us looking for help who don’t have benefits, and as clinical director, the hardest part is to have to turn somebody away,” Dupee said. “We haven’t done that, but we’ve absorbed those costs to get those people looked after. Any support will help us to do more, and get our clients on outings, to get moving, and participate in weekly peer support.”
Cadence is now getting its team together for the summer tourney, which will be made up of military and first responders. Getting veterans out of their comfort zone and playing in a team sport is a concept that proved successful in years past when Dupee organized a team to play in a league.
Their former team name, The Sheepdogs, will live on in the Hits for Heroes tourney, as it holds a special meaning among those who have done tours overseas.
Dupee embraces the concept of the “sheepdog” mentality, first explored in the early 2000s by former United States Army Ranger LTC Dave Grossman in his book, On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace.
“You’ve got your sheep, who are the people in society, you’ve got your wolves, the ones who are trying to do bad things, and the sheepdogs, who protect the herd at all costs,” Dupee said in a previous interview with NewmarketToday. “The sheepdog’s instinct is to help, to make a difference. And what makes them good is that they have a little bit of wolf in them, too.”
It’s an ideology that comes up often in the peer support groups Dupee leads, and one he believes should be celebrated.
Born and raised in Newmarket, Dupee, who now lives with his family in Barrie, said he couldn’t imagine holding this fundraiser anywhere other than in his hometown.
“I can’t picture this happening anywhere else other than at Ray Twinney,” he said. “We had a choice and we brought it into town and I’m super excited about this.”
The financial support will be especially helpful in providing much needed mental health and counselling support to the troops who get released dishonourably, Dupee said.
“We find with the troops who get released dishonourably because of their conduct, they come home and might have had some bad judgment, or PTSD. But this happens after a tour, after they’ve done some time overseas,” Dupee said. “We like to bring those guys on and challenge that behaviour. It’s the ones that fall through the cracks that we’re aiming for. We just want to be able to help them more.”
Here’s how you can get involved in Hits for Heroes:
- Event details: Saturday, July 13, 2019 at Ray Twinney Recreation Centre, 100 Eagle St., Newmarket. Registration at 8 a.m. and the tournament starts at 9 a.m. The tourney includes the games, a silent auction, giveaways, celebrity appearances (to be announced soon), and a spaghetti dinner for participants.
- Assemble and enter a team of at least 10 players, all players at every skill level are welcome. Teams are asked to bring one item for a silent auction table, as well as supply their own personal equipment to play. Cost $200.
- Become a Diamond sponsor for $500. This includes one team entry fee, logo on diamond area and logo recognition, mention in sponsorship thanks, social media exposure and opportunity to bring your own table to provide information on your company or organization.
- Become a Gold sponsor for $300. This includes logo on diamond area and logo recognition, mention in sponsorship thanks, and social media exposure.
- Become a Spaghetti sponsor for $200. This includes logo recognition, mention in sponsorship thanks, and social media exposure.
- Become a Water sponsor for $100. This includes logo recognition, mention in sponsorship thanks, and social media exposure.