Citi and the Mets Alumni honor veterans at Citi Field.
By Anu Ahluwalia, Citi August 24, 2011 11:53 AM
Citi and the New York Mets Alumni Association Presented by Citi hosted a luncheon and panel discussion to honor veterans at Citi Field on August 5. Moderator Howie Rose, of Sports Radio 66 WFAN, introduced the program, and then Adam Bryant, Membership Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and Chris Page, Citi's Vice President for Military Programs, briefly spoke about each organization's programs and goals for supporting veterans and their families.
Members of the 1969 World Series winning Mets team -- including Tom Seaver, Ralph Kiner, Bud Harrelson, Ed Kranepool, Ed Charles and Joe Pignatano -- shared stories from their time in the armed services and in professional baseball before answering questions from the audience, which included approximately 120 veterans from IAVA, Wounded Warriors, and Citi Veterans Network, as well as 40 Citi clients.
Audience members asked the players a broad range of questions including if they were treated differently in their service because they were professional athletes, their most memorable experiences while serving and how they transitioned back to civilian life. Seaver said, "My service as a United States Marine was the single most impactful experience of my life. It taught me the discipline that I needed to succeed as an athlete and the understanding that I could not do it alone, which made me a better team player. That experience shaped my life more than any other."
Following the formal program, the panel stayed for autographs and pictures with audience members.
There was also a volunteer event on the concourse level of Citi Field that evening before the Mets faced off against the Atlanta Braves. Approximately 70 Citi and IAVA volunteers helped fans make 1,000 greeting cards for returning veterans. The cards will be distributed at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Citi and the Mets also hosted a pre-game, on-field presentation of the "Teammates in the Community" award to Maria Canales, an IAVA volunteer, who had also met with President Obama during his announcement of a veteran's employment initiative earlier that day. Suni Harford, Managing Director and Citigroup's Regional Head of Markets for North America, and Page represented Citi on the field.
Photo: On-field presentation of Teammates in the Community Award to IAVA volunteer.