Players Visit Hines VA Hospital
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Several times when our players are making community appearances, they are a little anxious to get back to the ballpark and get ready for the game Today, was not one of those days.
Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Chris Sale and Matt Thornton visited the Hines VA hospital today where they talked to patients at both the Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Center as well as the Blind Rehabilitation Service Home. From the time they set foot in the hospital, the players were fully engaged with the veterans, listening to the stories of these American heroes and were clearly in no rush to leave.
The veterans were thrilled to see the players in what appeared to be a facility full of predominately White Sox fans. When it was brought to Matt Thornton’s attention he was on one of the veteran’s fantasy baseball team, Thornton immediately quipped, “I’m sorry.” Meanwhile, Mark Buehrle was getting advice from another veteran to avoid sliding on the tarp during a rain delay again for he fears it could lead to an injury.
“I play a game for a living because of the sacrifices of these men and women,” said John Danks during an interview with a local television station. And when told by the hospital staff how much the players’ visit means, the southpaw reiterated how much he and his teammates values the experience, saying, “Trust me, this is MUCH more fun for us.”
Today was an exceptionally special day at Hines as they proudly hosted a historic stitching ceremony to repair an American flag destroyed in the aftermath of 9/11. This National 9/11 Flag is on a journey across America where local service heroes in all 50 states will stitch the flag back to its original 13-stripe format using pieces of American flags destined for retirement. Once the flag is restored and made whole again in time for the 10-year Anniversary of 9/11, it will become a part of the permanent collection of the National September 11 Memorial Museum being built at the World Trade Center.
The players were fortunate enough to be able to sew a stitch in the flag, joining firefighters from New York and local Illinois heroes who also were at the ceremony.
“This is cool,” said Danks. “I can’t wait to call my parents and tell them I saw this flag, and some day tell my kids about it.”