CENTRAL SQUARE — Hits For Hope is bringing back its annual softball fundraiser on Sept. 11 with a fitting tribute to one of the charitable organization’s most cherished supporters.
The event will feature three softball games, dinner and music, and several raffles among the slew of activities on tap with all proceeds to be donated to the Home Based Primary Care unit of Veterans Affairs.
The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at David C. Webb Memorial Park in Constantia, with the rest of the event to follow in the same location. There will also be a pregame ceremony to commemorate the first responders and others who died in the 9/11 tragedy 20 years ago to the date with several area fire departments participating.
The donations will be made in the name of Bernhard “Bernie,” Corsette, who benefitted from the Home Based Primary Care for Veterans before he died in April at age 90 due to cancer.
The VA’s home care unit provides aid to area veterans that become too vulnerable to leave their homes for required medical care and helps with various nutrition and pharmacy needs, social work, rehabilitation, and psychology.
“There is this amazing group of people out there doing this for veterans, and they need to have this spotlight on them a bit,” said Amy Ehman, one of the Hits For Hope vice presidents. “It takes a special group of people to not only comfort the ill but comfort the people around them and be there even after their loved one has gone.”
Corsette was a longtime supporter of the Hits For Hope organization and the Central Square American Legion women’s softball team for which their committee members play. He was also an avid attendee of his granddaughter Amanda Potter’s games throughout her childhood and high school playing days. Potter is the other vice president of Hits For Hope.
Corsette was a veteran of the U.S. Army and served in the Korean War, earning a Purple Heart for his service. Potter credited the VA’s home care unit for helping guide Corsette and his family through the late stages of his illness after he opted not to receive Hospice Care.
“They were there with us, all the way through it,” Potter said. “So, this year we want to raise money for that program and donate the proceeds in memory of my grandfather, Bernie Corsette.”
She added: “They’re so excited about it that they decided to put a team together and come join us on the field for the day of the fundraiser.”
The event will begin with the Central Square American Legion women’s team facing a squad from the Constantia Volunteer Fire Department, resuming their friendly rivalry that has developed since the fund-raiser was launched in 2013.
David Potter leads the Constantia team but coaches his counterparts during their regular Oswego County women’s league season. He also serves as president of Hits For Hope. The level of “smack talk,” has risen through the years and the two teams now play for possession of a trophy.
“When we beat them and he tries to say: ‘Oh that’s my team,’ we’re going to say: ‘We don’t know you,’” Ehman said.
“I don’t know if it’s the fun of the guys versus the girls or just what we’re all doing it for, but they’re all extremely good people and they want to be a part of it every single time,” she added.
The Sandbar women’s softball team will face the West Monroe Volunteer Fire Department afterward, and then VA home care unit will field a team to face the Cleveland Legion.
The games will be followed by music and raffles, a pulled pork and pulled chicken dinner. Tickets are still available by visiting the Hits For Hope Facebook page or contacting Amanda Potter (315-447-2284).
Donations can be made in a variety of ways. Checks can be made payable to Hits For Hope, Inc. and mailed to 186 Grannis Rd. in Constantia, NY 13044 or brought to the event.
The organization also has a Venmo and set up an Amazon Smile account. By accessing a link at their Facebook page or searching Hits for Hope in the Amazon app, interested supporters can have .05 percent of their eligible purchases donated back to Hits For Hope by Amazon at no extra cost.
This year will mark the seventh softball fundraiser held by the community organization, with no games played last year due to COVID-19 concerns. They have raised more than $45,000 combined in past years, donating to causes such as Clear Path for Veterans, Feed Our Vets, Golisano Children’s Hospital, and an area four-year-old boy, Leiland White, who was suffering from leukemia.
“The community coming together is really what makes this happen,” said Britini Sperati, a board member of Hits For Hope. “Without all of that support, we’d really be reaching.”