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P-Nats, Carolina League, Army launch pilot program to hire vets at ballpark

Potomac NationalsInteresting idea, and a natural one for a D.C.-area team: the High Class A Carolina League and the Potomac Nationals are joining the U.S. Army in launching a pilot program focused on hiring U.S. Army soldiers transitioning to civilian careers, veterans and their families, for the 2013 season.

This initiative has stemmed directly from a priority set by General Ray Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff: assisting soldiers transitioning from the Army, as well as Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers in finding jobs.

“We must do our utmost to ensure that the Soldiers leaving the force are treated fairly and that they and their families are provided with support to help them successfully transition to civilian life,” Odierno said via press release..

This task falls directly to the U.S. Army Transition Strategic Outreach (TSO) and U.S. Army Reserve Employer Partnership Office (EPO), whose main mission is to provide civilian organizations Soldiers and veterans with proven leadership skills, work well as a member of the team, possess skills that allow them to efficiently perform under stress and solve problems while adapting to change.

The pilot program will begin with Northern Virginia’s Potomac Nationals and, if successful, will expand to the other Carolina League teams throughout the season.

“Those of us who have been in baseball a long time know the value of veterans as employees, and we are happy to share this experience with our fans and business partners. We are very proud that our Potomac club and the Army have taken this step, and I expect to be taking this initiative league-wide in the near future,” said John Hopkins, Carolina League President.

The pilot program will be announced during the Potomac Nationals’ season opener against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Atlanta Braves) on Friday, April 5th where they will recognize the first veteran of the program to be hired, Retired Army Sergeant Arthur Bouvier IV. He will be given the honor of throwing out the first pitch and will be joined by officials from the Potomac Nationals and U.S. Army on field. Additionally, fans attending the game will be treated to the U.S. Army’s Fife and Drum Corps prior to the game for a special performance in honor of this initiative.

“The Potomac Nationals are proud to be a part of this effort with the U.S. Army, and look forward to working with the great men and woman who have served our country with such pride, integrity and leadership. These are important qualities to the Potomac Nationals’ organization and we look forward to a great season,” says Potomac Nationals Vice President/General Manager Josh Olerud.

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