BELGRADE — On Friday, the two-day Nicholas Bloem VFW Post 12112 8th Annual Veteran’s Memorial Softball Classic kicked off in Belgrade.
“You won’t see any better softball anywhere in the state at any time," said tournament founder and veteran Jim Matter Jr. "This is it. If you’re a softball fan, this is the place to be.
You’ll see each team decked in softball uniforms that represent each branch of the military. The best high school softball players are chosen to be a part of the tournament.
“This event is all about bringing the best softball players in the state together to honor those veterans that have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country," Matter Jr. said. "A couple very important ones. (Technician Fourth Grade) Laverne Parrish with the Army who was a medic -- Medal of Honor Recipient. PFC Louis Charlo who was a Marine that was among the first group of Marines to crest Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.”
The quickest all-star team to come together usually wins the tournament.
“For them to come together and gel as a team is really what makes it special for our veterans," said Matter Jr. "It’s the same sentiment that we shared during our service and most of us still share today with our continued service to our community.
All the money raised from this weekend’s tournament goes to the Veteran’s Relief fund.
“This money all goes to what is called out Veteran’s Relief Fund that we use to help struggling veterans throughout the Gallatin Valley and the community," Matter Jr. said. "Whatever that might be. Maybe, they’ve just fallen on hard times. They need help getting a leg up. They just transitioned and they’re having a difficult time. Whatever it may be, that money goes towards that.”