May 13, 2014
06:36 AM
Connecticut Today

Connecticut Effort Sends Wounded Warriors to Red Sox Fantasy Camp

Connecticut Effort Sends Wounded Warriors to Red Sox Fantasy Camp

Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register

Damian Cashman, co-owner of O’Toole’s Irish Pub in New Haven, left, and New Haven Firefighter Douglas McBrierty, an Army veteran of Iraq, at the pub.

 Doug McBrierty couldn’t believe it.

There was Rico Petrocelli out on the field, walking toward him, ready to coach the Boston All Star Baseball Fantasy Camp in Florida.

Growing up on Cape Cod, McBrierty said his family would always talk about the retired Red Sox star in reverential tones, and now McBrierty was going to get some personal tips on playing the game from one of his idols.

McBrierty, a New Haven firefighter and Iraq war veteran, is active in the Wounded Warrior Project that helps returning soldiers deal with injuries they have received fighting overseas.

As one of those veterans, McBrierty said he was lucky enough to get a scholarship five years ago to attend the Red Sox camp, which makes a point of incorporating Wounded Warriors into the mix.

There will be a fundraiser at O’Toole’s Pub, 157 orange St., from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday to raise money to send as many veterans as they can to join the camp Jan. 31 to Feb. 8, 2015, in Fort Myers, Fla.

McBrierty, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when his convoy got hit by a rocket, credits Wounded Warriors with helping him recover.

In return, he has become an ambassador of sorts for the group as they engage with vets on several fronts.

He said Wounded Warriors offers physical outlets and stress reduction programs, as well as family support.

A big part of that recovery involves sports, and that is how the Red Sox fantasy camp, led by Larry Marino, fits into the picture.

“It’s an ingenuous idea by Larry Marino. We are so grateful for what they have done for our country,” Petrocelli said.

Wounded Warriors chooses which vets will get to attend, while $3,500 scholarships sponsored by fundraisers like O’Toole’s and others underwrite the cost of the weeklong event with WWP picking up the airfare.

Checks should be made out to Sports Adventure, which runs the camp, with Wounded Warrior Project written in the memo line. Only those made out to Sports Adventure will benefit the scholarship. Admission to the fundraiser is $15.

See the full story at the New Haven Register.

Connecticut Effort Sends Wounded Warriors to Red Sox Fantasy Camp

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