JBM-HH's Col. Sumpter totes 'sportswomanship,' opening pitch strike at First Responders Cup
September 16, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commander Col. Fern O. Sumpter delivered an on-target ceremonial first pitch and words of remembrance and encouragement to 20 youth softball teams on the heels of the 12th annual First Responders Cup softball tournament held at Arlington's Bancroft Park.
To kick off the two-day tournament, the JBM-HH commander addressed more than 200 young ladies Sept. 7, who were poised to compete in the multi-division tournament. After a brief introduction and history of the joint base, the colonel urged the ladies to display "good sportswomanship" and remember the trials citizens face every day. Sumpter added that the girls, who represented communities from Virginia, Maryland, New York and North Carolina, were serving as living examples of what is right in America.
"As we have seen from all the news reports this past year, our country continues to face countless challenges abroad and at home," Sumpter told the crowd of players, parents and coaches. "So it is precisely during these times that America needs its best and brightest, from all walks of life, to step forward and commit to helping others. You are all doing that by being here today. You are the dedicated keepers of your communities. You devote your time, energy and talent to make this country a better place. You are setting a positive example for others to follow. You are what makes America strong. I salute you for your commitment and for making a difference."
It was the second consecutive year Sumpter has been the keynote speaker and thrown the ceremonial first pitch at the tournament, which was founded a year after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a terrorist plane crash near Shanksville, Penn. and celebrates the roles firefighters, police squads and first responders played that day.
JBM-HH was also represented by The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and the Joint Service Color Guard. Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps drum major Sgt. 1st Class Jeb Hague received a First Responders Cup commemorative coin for his active participation during the past four pre-tournament ceremonies.
Sumpter closed her remarks with a simple lesson - don't forget the trendsetting females both in civilian and military walks of life.
"Remember the women who blazed the trail before us so women can have the rights we enjoy today-the right to vote, the right to go to college, the right to compete in the workforce, and ... like me...the right to become a colonel and command my own installation," she said. "And, yes-like you-they fought to give you the right to play softball and compete in tournaments."
The colonel then finished the opening ceremonies by drilling an on-target strike during the traditional tournament first pitch. Her ceremonial battery mate was Vienna Stars catcher Kamille Larrabee.
This year's tournament winners were: Vienna Stars 2001 (the 12 and under champs); the 14 and under winners were Vienna Stars 2000; the champs of the 18 and under silver division were the Olney Cougars-Black and the 18 and under gold division victors were the Vienna Stars 18U Gold.