Martha’s Vineyard Sharks host U.S. Military All-Stars team

Dukes County Veterans Agent Jo Ann Murphy took the walk of honor during the opening ceremony. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The MV Sharks kicked off their opening weekend with a game on Sunday with the U.S. Military All-Stars baseball team, as part of its 2012 Red, White and Blue Tour. Although the Sharks lost, 5-4, it was a feel-good afternoon for everyone, celebrating patriotism.

The team of active duty military personnel, reservists, veterans, and first responders visited Martha’s Vineyard as one of 45 states and 3 countries on its summer schedule. Lt. Cdr. Terry Allvord, USN (Ret.) founded the U.S. Military All-Stars with an all Navy team 23 years ago at the request of former President George H.W. Bush.

Since then, the Military All-Stars grew to include members of all the Armed Services, as well as Reserve, Guard, and ROTC, service academies, Wounded Warriors, and first responders. The Military All-Stars are a non-profit organization. The players buy their own uniforms and pay for their travel

“We now have 50 teams from all over the world,” Mr. Allvord said. The Military All Stars include outstanding players representing all branches of the military. Their mission is to travel the country playing exhibition baseball games to promote a positive image of the Armed Forces.

Mr. Allvord said that he took emergency leave in 2001 to work alongside first responders at Ground Zero in New York City for about three months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Part of the Military All-Stars pre-game program includes “Passing the Ground Zero Flag” and “Walk of Honor” ceremonies to recognize men and women who have served in uniform and those who died on 9/11.

Mr. Allvord presented a flag that flew at Ground Zero on 9/11 to Dukes County Director of Veterans Services Jo Ann Murphy to carry on a “walk of honor” in recognition of and in remembrance of local veterans.

“We made an agreement with the New York fire fighters and police officers we’d take the flag all around the world, and bring it back every year for the anniversary of 9/11,” Mr. Allvord said.

After the solemn ceremony, Ms. Murphy performed a more light-hearted duty by throwing out one of the first pitches, along with Army Staff Sgt. Randy Dull of Edgartown.

Two Vineyarders played in the game for the Sharks— outfielder Tad Gold, who currently leads the team in batting with a .462 average and 2012 MVRHS graduate Ryan Fisher, who came on to throw seven pitches and retire the side in the eighth inning.