There are so many ways to express gratitude for a kind gesture or a job well done. A thank-you card and a firm handshake or hug usually suffice, but Cole and Heidi Hamels took things a step further, offering a bounty of Phillies tickets to American veterans and their families.
“We were trying to think of ways to give back to our troops, especially since both sides of our family fought in wars,” says Heidi, who lives in Newtown Square with her pitcher husband. “Our generation is familiar with Desert Storm and everything that’s happened post-9/11, but I don’t think people in their 20s realize what it means and how important it is that we have the freedoms we have.”
Cole was inspired by his hometown San Diego Padres’ dedication to honoring U.S. servicemen and women. Every year, pitcher Trevor Hoffman (now retired) paid for tickets and meals for 1,000 members of the military and their families in honor of his father, a former Marine.
Hamels’ Heroes was founded in partnership with the Phillies organization and is funded by Cole and Heidi personally, rather than through their charitable Hamels Foundation. The couple purchased $20,000 in tickets for the current regular season, which were allocated according to need. A unit returning home may be treated to club-box seating, while a veteran and his or her family enjoy prime seats and cool swag like a Phillies shirt and hat, plus the chance to meet Cole on-field if he isn’t pitching.
“We really wanted to give back to the community to honor our soldiers,” says Cole, whose uncles and cousins have Navy ties. “There are a lot of men and women overseas struggling to uphold the freedoms we enjoy, and the freedom that gives me the opportunity to play baseball.”
All tickets for this season have been allocated. To learn more, visit phillies.com/community or call (215) 463-1000.
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