The Killeen chapter of VETSports, a national organization for veterans to play team sports, hosted the second annual "Battle of the Brave" softball event on Saturday.
The event, which started at 11 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. at the Killeen Athletic Complex, was an opportunity for the Killeen Professional Firefighters Association and Killeen Police Employee Association, or KPEA, to engage in some friendly competition with each other, while interacting with the veteran community.
“We always give all proceeds and donations back to the [VETSports] organization," said Bobby Castillo, president of the KPEA. “The main purpose is to bring attention to the veterans community here.”
The VETSports team played first against KPEA, resulting in a loss for VETSports, said Jason Elix, Killeen chapter captain and regional coordinator of VETSports.
The second game was the most competitive, with police and firefighters competing against each other.
Last year, the firefighters took both the trophy and bragging rights against the police department. This year, the firefighters took a loss against the police.
VETSports then played against the firefighters. The day of friendly competition came to a close with a mix of all three teams playing a pick-up game.
VETSports of Killeen, which has been established for over three years and has over 60 active members, hosts the event to "get the community more involved and have some positive interaction between the departments,” said Sarah Elix, who does community outreach for the organization and helps her husband, Jason, with events.
Although the transition from military to civilian life can be a difficult one, VETSports is a way to give veterans a place to find support, she said.
"I tell everybody that VETSports saved my husband’s life," said Sarah. "That’s truly what it did for him. It completely changed his attitude.”
VETSports will continue working with Killeen police and fire for next year's softball event, but also hopes to reach out to other local departments in the area to turn it into a larger tournament.
More information about VETSports can be found at vetsports.org