Major Leaguers, Action Team Captains assist troubled veterans, their families

SAN PEDRO, Calif. -- Forty-five Action Team Captains from Southern California joined Major Leaguers Trevor Plouffe (Minnesota Twins), Rob Rasmussen (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) and Chad Smith (Texas Rangers) in a project intended to help normalize the lives of troubled veterans and their families.

The ballplayers and high school volunteers from El Camino, Newbury Park and Westlake spent much of Jan. 24 sprucing up a garden -- planting vegetables, setting up irrigation and hanging protective netting -- at Blue Butterfly Village, a former military base that now serves as a community dedicated to homeless veterans, as well as those who have a history of domestic violence or military sexual trauma.

"Giving back to our veterans should always be a priority," Plouffe said. "When they come home they should feel safe and proud, and that is what the Blue Butterfly Village does for them."

The community of 73 two-bedroom townhouses, which is operated by Volunteers of America, strives to provide an environment that promotes wellness and independence and offers an array of support services to its residents. The Action Team Captains worked in groups, alternating between the facility's garden and playground, where they played and entertained the veterans' children.

"This was a memorable event," said Action Team Captain Matthew, who was the Action Team founder at Westlake High School. "The experience we had helping the children and their families was very rewarding. This has motivated us to begin brainstorming ideas for events that we can put on in our community through the Action Team."

The day concluded with a Q&A session with the Action Team Captains and Major Leaguers, who stressed the importance of serving the disadvantaged in our communities.

"It was an honor to work alongside the Action Teams, and seeing the high school kids out there volunteering their time was great," Plouffe said. "I'm looking forward to seeing our gardens grow!" 

To read more about the Action Team Regional Service projects click HERE.

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