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The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Video - May 19, 2018

Senior Airman Justin Smith surprises his family on the field at PNC Park after returning home from 11 months in South Korea.


Each Thursday home game at PNC Park was once again designated a Military Thursday in 2018.

Pirates Players, coaches and Bucco Brigade staff showcased their support by wearing specially designed camouflage uniforms to honor our service men and women, and Pirates Charities selected a different non-profit organization each game that serves veterans and members of our military.

The honoree non-profit was recognized on the field prior to the game, hosted in the Pirates Charities suite and given the proceeds of the day's 50/50 raffle to help continue their important work.

2018 honoree organizations included:
  • Defender's of Freedom: Defenders of Freedom is a non-profit organization committed to supporting post 9/11 veterans with life & career mentoring, job search assistance and general transitioning to the civilian sector.
  • Helping Heroes: Helping Heroes is a community based, non-profit organization founded and administered by veterans and veteran supporters. They provide support services and resources to homeless and near homeless, as well as any other veterans in Wetzel, Marshall, Ohio, Brooke, and Hancock counties in order to transition them to or maintain self-sufficiency.
  • Heroes Supporting Heroes: Heroes Supporting Heroes aims to support stable and safe housing for military members and their families, senior citizens, and others in need in order to honor God.
  • It's About the Warrior Foundation: The mission of It's About the Warrior Foundation aims to assist and empower Tri-State Area (Western PA, Eastern OH, Northern WV) post 9/11 veterans and their families with our transitional, economic, recreational, or therapeutic programs, thus, leading to a successful and enriched life.
  • Life Changing Service Dogs For Veterans: Life Changing Service Dogs For Veterans is a collaborative effort between Veterans' Cable Service and Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. to provide service canines to veterans who suffer from physical disabilities or cognitive challenges resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and, or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Operation Troop Appreciation: Operation Troop Appreciation is driven to build and sustain the morale and well being of the military community, past and present, with the assurance that the American public supports and appreciates their selfless service and daily sacrifices.
  • Veterans Breakfast Club: The mission of the Veterans Breakfast Club is to create communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure that this living history will never be forgotten.
  • Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania: Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania is an organization that provides veterans and their families with housing, employment and supportive services, regardless of era of war, Veterans Affairs (VA) eligibility or discharge status. Case managers work one-on-one with Veterans to assess their situation and to create goals that lead to self-sufficiency and financial sustainability.

The Military Thursday program will continue into the 2019 season. Pirates Charities is pleased to offer 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations serving active duty members of our military and veterans in the greater Pittsburgh region the opportunity to apply to participate in this program. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Applying does not guarantee approval.




During Spring Training, the Pirates and Pirates Charities partnered with local organizations to host active-duty military members, veterans, and their guests for a day of appreciation at LECOM Park. All guests received the new Pirates military cap during a pregame barbeque picnic, before enjoying reserved seating at the Pirates vs. Braves game.

Partner organizations included the 927th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), Manasota Operation Troop Support, and Veterans Tickets Foundation. ESGR received a Certificate of Appreciation during the pre-game group salute, while a member of the 927th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill Air Force Base threw the honorary first pitch.