Teaming up to Support and Honor Service

  • Teaming up to Support Our Troops

    and Honor Our Veterans 

    With Time-Honored Tradition

    “We, as Americans, are grateful to our military personnel who are presently serving our country,” began the prepared announcement, read by Physical Education Teacher Jen Wittman, which was broadcast across Sayville High School baseball field (aka “The Swamp”) as part of the Support Our Troops ceremony. “…and to our Veterans who have paved the way with their service.”

    Honoring our troops and veterans has become part of a traditional fundraiser organized by Varsity Baseball Head Coach Ryan Cox and the Sayville Varsity Baseball team. With the sales of camouflage t-shirts, baked goods, and refreshments sold by High School clubs, classes, and Baseball Booster Club, the second annual Support Our Troops baseball home game raised more than $1,000 this year (an increase from last year) for troops overseas while acknowledging our Veterans at home. The fundraiser was also meant to honor those valiant Sayville alumni who are currently serving here and abroad to defend our country.

    The brief pre-game ceremony started with a march of the Honor Guard* from VFW Post 433 to second baseline. While the broadcast of inspiring words rose above “The Swamp,” the guest veterans comprised of men and women representing various branches of the military from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as active military personnel, listened in silent attention on the third baseline.

     Standing in the row behind Vietnam Vet John Cox, was son Coach Ryan Cox and members of the Sayville Flashes team. Nearby on the first baseline, the Tornados, Harborfields’ Baseball Team, coached by Eric Cox (Ryan’s brother), also participated to make the day a very special family affair.  Inspired by their father John Cox, a local contractor and past commander of the VFW in Sayville, who has donated time and materials to build the baseball dug outs at “the Swamp,” both sons have demonstrated leadership skills gleaned from the values their father learned while he was in the service: honor, integrity, and loyalty, which they try to instill in their players.

    Showing respect for these values has also been the inspiration that launched the Support Our Troops Day tradition.

    As the ceremony continued, the National Anthem was sung in amazing voice and a capella by Sayville parent Ed Brennen who was invited by the Baseball Booster Club. After spotlighting the military service of retired Sayville teacher and Yearbook Advisor Dennis Fagan, who holds the rank of Brigadier General, the ceremony ended with the first-pitch thrown by General Fagan.

    Then it was time to play ball! Both League VI teams battled on the field, team against team, brother against brother, with the Golden Flashes winning in a close game.


    * VWF Post 433 Honor Guard: Ron Bergmann (American Flag), Mike Alcabes (Post Colors), Joan Furnery  (POW Flag), Andy Henning and George McEwen (rifles), John Demmers (gun & holster)