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Friday April 12, 2013Gator Baseball To Salute Those Who Serve At Saturday's Game With No. 8 South Carolina

Gainesville, Fla.

The University Athletic Association, Inc. has partnered with Nationwide Insurance to honor our military and first responders at Saturday’s Gator Baseball game at 3 p.m. at McKethan Stadium.


Saluting Those Who Serve, presented by Nationwide, will take place in conjunction with the Gators’ series finale against No. 8 South Carolina.


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As a part of Saluting Those Who Serve, presented by Nationwide, Nationwide Insurance is providing free general admission for the first 1,000 current or former military and first responders with valid ID. Throughout the game, various military members, veterans and local first responders will be recognized for their service to our community and country.


The groups that will be participating in Saturday’s game will be a pair of World War II veterans, four First Responders, 12 University of Florida Student Veterans, as well as the graduating classes from UFROTC Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. 


The Ceremonial First Pitch will be thrown out by Robert Wells, a Nationwide associate in the Gainesville office. Wells joined the Navy in 1977, put in 20 years of Naval Service and has receiving the following awards:

·         2 Joint Service Achievements Medals

·         Navy Achievement Medal

·         Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal

·         Kuwait Liberation Medal

·         National Defense Medal


Wells is also the director of the Nationwide Good News Choir which will be performing the National Anthem prior to the game. The choir has performed in such places as the National Relay for Life East Gainesville, Idylwild Elementary School and Alz’s Place.


World War II veteran - Howard Douglas

As part of the Historic 366th Infantry Regiment, Howard Douglas will always be known as one of the valiant men that were assigned to fight in one of the Nation’s first and last units where an entire Infantry Regiment was composed of all black enlisted Soldiers and black officers. Their determination to succeed helped establish today’s Army Values, where all Soldiers are considered equal bearers of the freedoms we enjoy today.


In June 2012, 68 years after completing his Military Service, Douglas’ contributions were acknowledged by the Department of the Army and he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for serving heroically in military operations against an armed enemy during WWII. This is truly a long and well-deserved award to both a distinguished Soldier, and one of the finest members of our generation. 


The First Responders who will be honored include: Kenny Beerbower, University of Florida Police Department; Ryan Clary, Gainesville Fire Rescue; Officer Paul Forsberg, Gainesville Police Department and Sergeant Frank Kinsey, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.


UF Student Veterans

Matthew Davis, Army

Michael Filipelli, Marine Corps

Billy Devlin, Marine Corps

Monique Wilson, Army

Zach Coughlin, Army

Richshard Brown, Navy

Cliff Roberts, Marine Corps

Scott Irons, Marine Corps

Stephen Carlisle, Marine Corps

Bladimiro Valbuena, Marine Corps

Doc Freeman, Air Force

Matthew Balas, Marine Corps

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