By Art Holliday
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The crack of the bat at Busch Stadium, but the St. Louis Cardinals are nowhere in sight. Instead it's a fundraiser at the ballpark, Hitting for Heroes. The event was organized by Little Patriots Embraced, a Kirkwood-based organization that provides financial assistance to military families.
"We're here just to let everyone know across the nation how important these children are," said Carol Watanabe, founder of Little Patriots Embraced, "and how important these families are to everyone. I mean, we need to recognize them for their sacrifice.
The Hitting for Heroes event is about thanking military children, who in their own way also serve our country, especially when they lose a military parent.
"It means a lot for people to recognize the sacrifices the families have to make," said Sandra Ortiz. Ortiz, of Fort Leonard Wood, says she still struggles with the death of her husband Hector because he's one of the growing number of active duty soldiers who kill themselves.
"I did know he was struggling but I never thought that he would go to that extreme," said Ortiz.
Thirteen-year old Austin Tipton misses his dad.
"It's not easy because everybody else at school has a dad," said Austin.
His father, Captain John Tipton, died in Iraq in 2004, one month before he was to come home for good.
"It's amazing to me that even after almost nine years of my husband being gone, that people still reach out to us, and appreciate the sacrifice that myself and my kids have made," said Susie Tipton, John Tipton's widow.
The Hitting for Heroes event raised money for Little Patriots Embraced, and Wounded Warriors. Major sponsors include Hollywood casino and Anheuser-Busch.