McCoy hosts an­nual din­ner serv­ing up steaks to vet­er­ans

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By BREN­DAN McGAIR bm­c­gair@paw­tuck­et­

PAW­TUCKET – The steaks on Bill Ma­suck’s plate were get­ting cold, but that didn’t bother him Fri­day night.

A 1961 grad­u­ate of Tol­man High School, Ma­suck sat at a ta­ble with fel­low Paw­tucket na­tives and fel­low vet­er­ans of mil­i­tary ser­vice.

Also with Ma­suck, a Viet­nam War vet, was Donald Brooks, a World War II vet­eran who turns 87 this year. Since they were in­side the home club­house at McCoy Sta­dium, the ta­ble was lively with base­ball chat­ter — what the game was like back in their day and how they have their fin­gers crossed about pro ball some­how stay­ing at McCoy af­ter the Paw­tucket Red Sox play their fi­nal game at the venue.

Ma­suck and Brooks were part of a crowd of 60 vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies that at­tended the fourth an­nual steak

din­ner the PawSox put on in con­junc­tion with the Vet­er­ans Day holiday.

“It’s some­thing that’s great and some­thing we can all ap­pre­ci­ate,” said Ma­suck. “Some the guys here, they’ve never been to any­thing like this. It’s not like we have th­ese events all the time.”

Be­sides be­ing treated to a four-course meal that also in­cluded salad, mashed pota­toes, string beans, and cheese cake, the vet­er­ans and their guests re­ceived a tour of McCoy with the nar­ra­tion pro­vided by Mike Lyons, who han­dles cor­po­rate partnership sales for the PawSox.

Be­fore taking a spin around the ball­park, the vet­er­ans posed for an on-field group photo. The score­board was turned on with an Amer­i­can flag serv­ing as the back­drop.

The hon­orees on hand Fri­day night were vet­er­ans af­fil­i­ated with the YWCA of Rhode Is­land Gate­way to In­de­pen­dence, the Rhode Is­land Mil­i­tary Or­ga­ni­za­tion, Chap­ter 3 of the Paw­tucket DAV, Cen­tral Falls Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 79, New­port VFW Post 406, RI As­so­ci­a­tion of Fire Chiefs Honor Flights, and Op­er­a­tion Stand Down. The group in­cluded men who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Viet­nam War, and Desert Storm.

Be­fore din­ner was served by mem­bers of the PawSox front-of­fice staff, there was an in­vo­ca­tion led by PawSox chap­lain Michael Buffi. At age 95, Roland Poirier was the old­est vet­eran on hand. He re­ceived a nice round of ap­plause as Lyons con­tin­ued to ad­dress the room.

“It’s truly an honor to host this event each year,” said Rob Crain, PawSox se­nior vice pres­i­dent of sales and mar­ket­ing. “You get to in­ter­act with a lot of great peo­ple and hear from great sto­ries.”

Added Kasim Yarn, di­rec­tor of R.I. Of­fice of Vet­eran Af­fairs, “We can’t say thank you enough and we can’t give enough to our vet­er­ans, but that’s what makes out­ings like this so spe­cial. It brings the com­mu­nity to­gether. The PawSox have al­ways been great when it comes to rec­og­niz­ing vet­er­ans and this is just an­other ex­am­ple.”

The PawSox on Satur­day morn­ing will con­tinue their week­end of salut­ing vet­er­ans. At 9:30 a.m., the starter’s pis­tol will com­mence the Vet­er­ans Home Run 5K Walk & Run event. The en­try fee is $25 with day-of-race reg­is­tra­tion run­ning from 7:45-9 a.m.

Photo by Bren­dan McGair

Left to right, Joe Bradlee, PawSox di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Paw­tucket na­tive & Korean War vet­eran Donald Brooks, and Kasim Yarn, di­rec­tor of R.I. Of­fice of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, at McCoy Sta­dium on Fri­day night.

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