Members of the USA Patriots Amputee Softball team were in Minot Thursday, appearing at Marketplace Foods on North Hill. They were helping give a boost to fundraising efforts for their annual Kid’s Camp and to say thank you for dollars raised in the community.
“This year Marketplace is on pace to send at least two kids to camp, maybe three,” said Jerry Gooch, Morelli’s Distributing. “These guys teach kids how to do things even though they have disabilities because they’ve learned to do things with their own disabilities.”
The USA Patriots play softball at many locations throughout the country, bringing attention to their number one cause, which is raising money for veterans and Kid’s Camp.
“That’s what we do, travel the country and raise money for these kids, to try and help change their lives,” said Randy Tedder, North Carolina, a member of the USA Patriots. Tedder lost his left leg below the knee after returning home from Operation Desert Storm. “Two years ago was my actual first-hand experience with Kid’s Camp. After seeing the difference it makes for these kids, I’ll never miss another one. It’s that important. It really is. It changes their lives.”
The USA Patriots are scheduled to compete in the 46th annual Sam McQuade charity softball tournament, billed as the largest in the world, in Bismarck June 25-27. Their opening game is Friday evening at 6 p.m. in the Recreation III Division. Such appearances bring attention to the cause they represent, bringing 20 children with disabilities together to, as their motto says, “Encourage, inspire, and motivate.”
“When we get kids to camp, lo and behold, they are around 19 other kids that are very similar to them,” explained Tedder. “And there are 15 of us that have something very similar and they’ll have that network for the rest of their lives.”
The cost of sending a child, and a parent or guardian, to Kid’s Camp is about $5,000. Last year, with the McQuade event canceled due to COVID, the USA Patriots played an exhibition game in Minot and raised $7,000.
“That was a treat,” remarked Tedder.
Kid’s Camp is held at different locations every year. This year’s camp is set for August 9-14 at Fond Du Lac, Wis.