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USAA Tips: Leaving a bad boss can be a great career move

Content provided courtesy of USAA | By Chad Storlie

In the military, if you have a bad boss, you are forced to wait them out, wait until they PCS or hope they transfer. In a civilian role, you don't have to wait out a bad boss — you can just leave, which may be your best career choice. You can and should take steps to improve your career situation and move on.

The central question in leaving a bad boss is to identify a bad boss. Bad bosses can be great people, they can be well-meaning, and they can be genuine. The tell-tale feature is that a good boss enables your career and a bad boss holds you back.

There are six primary areas to determine if you work for a bad boss or a good boss.

1. A good boss shares ideas and information – A bad boss hoards it. Information sharing is one of the most evident and easily diagnosed areas to evaluate your boss. If your boss shares information, describes in detail what the executive team is thinking, shares industry trends, and shares what other parts of the organization are doing, then that is a good sign of a good boss. If your boss shares none of these items, then that is an indicator they are a bad boss.

2. A good boss enables employees' outside ideas and initiative – A bad boss knows the answers already and restricts employees exercising their ideas. A good boss is open to new ideas and different ways of doing business that helps the boss reach the team's goals. A bad boss already knows the answers and already knows how things need to be done and does not need to hear employee suggestions. Furthermore, a bad boss actively discourages new ideas.

3. A good boss promotes team member actions up the chain of command for recognition – A bad boss promotes only their actions. Perhaps one of the best evaluations of a good boss is how often they bring up team member actions and activities in meetings with their boss. If you hear, "Jane did this," or "Larissa led this," or "William created this," in meetings and conversations with the executive team, then this is a sign of a good boss recognizing and promoting their team's results. If you only hear a discussion of results with no attribution of those results to the people that did them, then that is a sign of a bad boss.

4. A good boss regularly coaches team members – A bad boss relies only on the annual performance review. In my opinion, the annual performance review remains one of the worst human resource activities still in use today. A good boss meets with individual team members regularly to discuss with precise examples what they did well, what they can improve, and then how to improve it. A bad boss only discusses employee performance once or twice a year and avoids any other performance discussion.

5. A good boss adapts their leadership style to engage each individual in the entire team – A bad boss has only "their" way of doing things. Leadership is a broad approach to describe how a range of methods and techniques can be applied to get the best performance out of a team of individuals. A good boss applies a leadership style that is unique to each team member so that each individual team member can be led to perform their best. A bad boss has only a "my way" of leadership that is applied to all team members regardless of individual outcome. A good leader employs a range of techniques to get the best from people.

6. A good boss has firm and fast professional ethics – A bad boss has "situational" and flexible ethics. Personal ethics is one of the best evaluations of a good or bad boss. A good boss has firm, well understood, and clear ethical principles that apply to the boss and each member of their team equally. A bad boss has a "muddy" concept of ethics that apply to themselves, their team, and other individuals differently. Different ethical standards are a clear sign of a bad boss.

Once you have determined that you work for a bad boss, you need to make the decision to leave. The decision to leave can be to transfer to a different role in the same company or to leave for a different company all together. First, you must accept that a bad boss is unlikely to change into a good boss. Having a bad boss change into a good boss is a very, very unlikely situation and one that I have never witnessed. Second, if you work for a bad boss, you will never work for a good boss. This is obvious, but unless you decide to change your employment situation, your boss situation will not change. You must take the action to change your work situation. Third, start making career and networking connections to leave immediately. It is tempting to see how things look in three months or a year. Don't fall for this temptation to "kick the can" down the road – make the decision today to leave a bad boss.

Leaving a bad boss is a difficult but necessary step to enable your full career success.

American Legion World Series title game suspended until Wednesday morning

Fargo, N.D., Post 2 and Idaho Falls, Idaho Post 56 were in the top of the second inning when the skies opened up, forcing a suspension of the American Legion World Series championship game.

Play is expected to resume at 10 a.m., ET on Wednesday. It will be broadcast on ESPNU.

North Dakota lead 2-1 when the game was suspended.

To find out additional information about the suspension, including any potential changes in coverage or start time, visit https://americanlegion.sportngin.com/2019alws.

Legacy Run Day 3: Carrying on a family tradition

Deanna Woodburn was on the back of a motorcycle at 7 a.m. on Aug. 19, kicking off a day that didn't end until she got back to her hotel in Gainesville, Ga., after 7 p.m.

And then she did homework.

But that didn't keep a smile off Woodburn's face at 6:30 a.m. the next morning, standing in the parking lot of Gainesville's Belk department store. The 18-year-old member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 1922 in Springfield, Ill., has wanted to take part in a Legacy Run for a long time. After all, it's in her blood.

"(The Legacy Run) has always been so important to me and my family that I've wanted to do it for years," said Woodburn, the daughter of American Legion Department of Illinois Membership Chairman Chad Woodburn, an American Legion Rider on his fourth Legacy Run, and granddaughter of former longtime Legion Rider Terry Woodburn. "I always saw my grandpa going on the rides, and then I saw my dad starting to go on them as well. I always wanted to be a part of the Riders, and I'd known that for many years.

"I am able to now apply for the Legacy Scholarship, so for me it's really important to be able to see where this money is coming from and how it's being raised."

Terry Woodburn was the longtime Department of Illinois adjutant and former chairman of National American Legion Riders Advisory Committee. Woodburn was instrumental in the early years of the Legacy Run, serving as a road captain, and also worked for American Legion National Headquarters from 1992-1998 as the Child Welfare Foundation's executive secretary.

Terry passed away June 25, 2015, and just over a year later, Chad took part in his first Legacy Run – in part to honor his father and in part to fulfill a longtime goal as well. "It was something I wanted to do because of being a Rider and knowing what the American Legion Family does for veterans, for children," he said. "And I wanted my daughter to see it – she's been an Auxiliary member since birth and been very active – and for her to see what the Riders do was real important."

For Chad, a member of Post 1922, preparing his daughter for the ride wasn't easy. "There's no real way to prepare a person, other than to tell them it's going to be long days," he said. "But it's a fun family time. When we got into Florida on (Aug. 17), she was right by my side and was a little shy, which is not her. The next day her social butterfly was back, and she was out enjoying the family presence that's here."

A freshman at Heartland Community College and past honorary national Central Division Junior Auxiliary vice president, Deanna began to notice that family environment pretty early. "I have had so many people come up and say … ‘hey, you're Chad's daughter,' or ‘hey, you're Terry's granddaughter.' It makes me so happy to know he touched so many people. It's just really special for me."

With Deanna on the ride, three generations of Woodburn Legion Riders have taken part. "It's awesome," Chad said. "Dad's looking down on us and smiling right now."

Worth the work. At historic Post 28 in Spartanburg, S.C. – another centennial post along the route – the ride was Chick-fil-A boxed lunches provided by Humana. The post facility was built in 1936, is made primarily of local granite and is listed on the National Register.

Having the 221 Legion Riders and their 43 passengers stop at the post "was something. It's one of my highlights of my five years (as post commander)," Post 28 Commander Carroll Owens said. "I've been working with (Legacy Run Chief Road Captain) Bob Sussan on this thing for about a year now. It's just great to be able to do this part for them. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it."

Showing her support. North Carolina Alternate Executive Committeeman Patricia Harris, a member of Post 124 in Apex, N.C., traveled all the way to Post 28 so she could ride with the Legacy Run up to Shelby, N.C., where the American Legion World Series championship game was scheduled to be played. Harris rode on the back of Tarboro, N.C., American Legion Auxiliary Unit 13 President Ottine "Tina" Miller's motorcycle.

"I couldn't think of a better thing to do at the end of the World Series than to come and support the Legacy Run coming through our state," Harris said. "I am always proud of my brothers and sisters that … supporting such an important issue for us."

First-timer perspective. Ride participant Devin Smith is a member of Sons of The American Legion Squadron Post 6 in Cheyenne, Wyo. His wife, Diane, is a member of Post 6 and currently is serving in the U.S. Army and is deployed to the Middle East.

Riding through Uptown Shelby, N.C., where residents lined the streets waving American Legion flags and cheering the Riders, was a moving experience, one of many he's had on the Run.

"It truly makes you believe in America again," Smith said. "It just goes to show that people really do love America and the military. I've got a wife who's currently deployed, so it's neat seeing the support for that."

BBQ and baseball. American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad, who has been on the Legacy Run since its start Aug. 18, left the Riders briefly that night, getting taken via motorcycle to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C. But before that, he and the other ride participants were provided a pulled pork dinner at American Legion Post 155 in Kings Mountain, N.C. The ride originally had been invited to the post as a place to "hang out," but that evolved into Post 155 becoming a dinner stop.

"We're ecstatic," said Post 155 Commander Ken Breakfield about hosting the Riders. "It just worked out to where we were able to get everything arranged in a short period of time. It's a blessing for us to have it."

Breakfield knew the ride had gone through periods of heavy rain but also knew that wouldn't deter them. "They're veterans," he said. "A lot of them have been through a lot more than that."

Idaho and North Dakota to play in Legion World Series title on ESPNews

The American Legion World Series has never been won by a team from Idaho or North Dakota.

That will change Tuesday night as Idaho Falls, Idaho, Post 56 will face Fargo, N.D., Post 2 in a nationally-televised American Legion World Series championship game on ESPNews. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.

These two teams squared off in their first game of the tournament last Thursday. Scoreless through three innings, Idaho Post 56's offense woke up for multiple runs in each of the remaining innings on its way to a 7-3 victory over North Dakota Post 2.

Idaho Falls, known as the Bandits, won the Stripes pool with an unblemished 3-0 record, but needed some magic late Monday night to advance to the final. The team got four runs on just two hits and walked off as 4-3 winners over Danville, Ill., Post 210. The game mirrored the program's regional title winning game, which also went to extra innings.

The win gave the Bandits their 60th win of the year to just six losses. They are 4-0 in American Legion World Series play.

The state of Idaho has sent representatives to the American Legion World Series in three straight years and nine times overall.

Only two of the other eight programs to make the World Series made the title game and Idaho Falls will hope to fare better than their counterparts. Pocatello lost, 23-6, in the first World Series in 1926 against Yonkers, N.Y., in Philadelphia. Lewiston Post 13 dropped a 5-2 decision to Brooklawn, N.J., in 2001 in Yakima, Wash.

North Dakota came into the World Series as the fourth Post 2 team to ever make it to the event the first in 27 years (1969, 1989, 1992) and one of just five appearances from the state of North Dakota.

Entering the World Series with a record of 51-6, North Dakota won two of three pool play games, losing only to Idaho in the opener.

On Monday, North Dakota completed a suspended game in the morning to earn a spot in the semifinals, then returned in the evening, braved another lengthy rain delay, then defeated previously-unbeaten Destrehan, La., Post 366 in the first national semifinal by a score of 11-4.

ALWS Game 14: Idaho walks off in extras to secure title game berth

We are guaranteed a first-time national champion at the American Legion World Series as Idaho, represented by Idaho Falls Post 56, walked off as 4-3 winners in the ninth inning, besting Danville, Ill., Post 210.

Idaho will face North Dakota, represented by Fargo Post 2, in Tuesday's final, which airs live on ESPNews at 6:30 p.m., and reairs on ESPNU following the conclusion of the game on ESPNews.

Idaho scored three runs on just one hit in regulation play and got their only other hit in the ninth inning to eventually walk off as winners.

It was Danville that had the upper hand early as Ernest Plummer walked and went to third on an error before coming around to score on a Kotah Broeker single in the first.

Danville got two runners on in both the second and third, but Austin Charboneau got a big strikeout to get out of trouble in the second and Caden Christensen came on in relief to end the third with a groundout.

Idaho loaded the bases with two out in strange fashion in the third. A dropped third strike, a steal on a pickoff attempt, a walk and a hit by pitch filled the bags for Randon Hostert. The first baseman fell behind in the count 1-2, but a wild pitch tied the game and two pitches later Hostert drilled a double to left field, scoring two for the team's first hit of the game.

Danville nearly got a run back in the top of the fourth when Lucas Hofer pulled a ball down the right field line and hit the top of the wall but just foul. Hofer struck out two pitches later but a wild pitch allowed him to reach after a walk put two on with just one out, Christensen got a strikeout and groundout to hold the lead.

In the fifth, just at the stroke of midnight, Tavyn Lords made a key diving catch down the left field line for Idaho, sending his hat, sunglasses and hair flying in the process.

Down to the last out in the seventh, Danville rallied to get two crucial runs. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases and Logan Spicer fell behind 0-2 in the count but battled before lining a single into left-center, bringing home two and tying the game.

In the bottom of the frame, Mason Ecker battled and got a huge strikeout with his 105th and final pitch, finishing the game with just one hit allowed in 6.2 innings pitched, striking out eight. Dalton Dalbey came on in relief and closed out the inning, sending the game to extra innings.

In the eighth, Danville got a one-out single from Jake Stipp into right center and moved Stipp into scoring position with a bunt. Bruer Webster made a tough play sticking with a hard grounder just in time to second to finish the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth Idaho got its second hit of the game and it was a key one. Andrew Gregersen singled and stole second, then advanced to third on a fielders choice.ALWS Game 14: Idaho walks off in extras to secure title game berth

"It's surreal," Gregerson said. "We have a great group of guys I have been playing with since I was eight and I'm just soaking up our last games together."

Charboneau and Christensen combined for 9.0 innings, seven hits allowed and just two earned runs.

"[Christensen] has been pitching great all year and [Charboneau] started us off and gave us a chance to win and that is all you can ask of your pitchers," Gregerson added.

Idaho Falls joins Lewiston and Pocatello as the only teams from Idaho to reach the American Legion World Series title game.

"This whole year this team has been checking boxes," manager Ryan Alexander said. "It is the winningest team in Idaho Falls Bandits history, the first team to win a regional and now we have a chance to be the first to win a World Series."

Idaho Falls will hope to fare better than their other Idaho counterparts. Pocatello lost, 23-6, in the first-ever World Series in 1926 against Yonkers, N.Y., in Philadelphia. Lewiston Post 13 dropped a 5-2 decision to Brooklawn, N.J., in 2001 in Yakima, Wash.

"We want to go down in the record books with our group of guys," Gregerson said.

"These kids have worked hard," Alexander said. "We have played a lot of baseball and these kids have had to grind and grind. We have gone from Denver to Arizona to San Diego to Shelby. We have traveled over 14,000 miles this summer and they have worked hard and they deserve the right to compete for the national title. But we are going to have to play good baseball to get it done."

101st National Convention in Indianapolis begins Friday

The 101st National Convention of The American Legion in Indianapolis gets underway Friday, Aug. 23, with community activities, meetings, workshops, training sessions, distinguished guests, speakers and more, and concludes Aug. 29 with the election of a new national commander.

For a schedule of events, tour opportunities and more visit www.legion.org/convention/resources.

A few activities held during convention include:

• American Legion community service project – Friday, Aug. 23

• Color Guard contests – Friday, Aug. 23

• Band contests – Saturday, Aug. 24

• Legion Family Night with the Colts – Saturday, Aug. 24

• Legion Family Night at Victory Field where Indianapolis Indians take on the Louisville Bats – Saturday, Aug. 24 (National Commander Brett Reistad will throw out the first pitch)

• National convention parade – Sunday, Aug. 25

• Centennial Film Festival – Monday, Aug. 26

• Legion Family Night with WNBA Fever Basketball at Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Tuesday, Aug. 27

The following workshops and conferences will be held in conjunction with the convention:

Indianapolis Military Hiring Fair – Thursday, Aug. 22

Subject Matter Expert Training – Saturday, Aug. 24, and Monday, Aug. 26

Digital Media Training Workshop – Monday, Aug. 26

National Credentialing Summit – Wednesday, Aug. 28 and Thursday, Aug. 29

Other convention news:

• The U.S. Mint will be selling American Legion centennial coins in the Exhibit Hall at the Indiana Convention Center.

• The American Legion's traveling GI Bill exhibit is on display in the rotunda at the Indiana State Capitol, 200 W. Washington Street.

• A naturalization ceremony and voter registration will be conducted with 100 new citizens – Tuesday, Aug. 27

Stay updated with what's happening at The American Legion's biggest annual gathering by following online at www.legion.org, on Facebook and on Twitter.

The Legion's National Convention mobile app is also available for download, free of charge, from the Apple Store or Google Play. Click here to access it. The app includes maps, information from meeting times to registration and shuttle hours, social media links, a guide to Indianapolis and more. It will continue to be updated with information, headlines and alerts throughout the convention. If you still have last year's app on your phone, you can simply update it for 2019.

ALWS Game 13: Fargo Post 2 clinches first-ever title game appearance for North Dakota

Fargo, N.D., Post 2 will be the first team from the state of North Dakota to ever play in the American Legion World Series championship game after defeating Destrehan, La., Post 366 in the first national semifinal of 2019.

Fargo, N.D., Post 2 woke up Monday with a 1-1 record in pool play, fighting desperately for a spot to advance. A win in the suspended Game 11, a favorable result in Game 12 to seal a runner-up spot in the Stripes pool and an 11-4 win in the Game 13 puts Fargo into Tuesday's national title game at 6:30 p.m., on ESPNews.

North Dakota got hits from eight of its starters in the balanced effort.

In the top of the first, Zach Sandy was hit by a pitch and Zach Kluvers hit a double to send him to third. A wild pitch and a single by Cole Hage brought both home. Fargo loaded the bases with a pair of singles, but second baseman Gavin Freeman made a fantastic stop to keep the ball in the infield to prevent a run. One pitch later, Josh MacCord induced a double play to end the threat.

In the bottom of the third, the rain came for the second time in as many days with Fargo on the field. The delay was just under three-and-a-half hours.

Fargo got two quick outs in the bottom of the third but Louisiana got singles from TJ Thomas and Gavin Freeman and a walk to Nick Lorio to load the bases. Cory Cook dropped a looping single to left-center to bring home two and tie the game. Destrehan had multiple near-misses down the left field line including two hard-hit balls destined for the corner that just fell foul.

Fargo had its own two-out rally in the top of the fourth with two outs surrounding a walk to Chandler Ibach. Zach Sandy doubled and third base coach Lucas Rustad wisely held up Ibach at the last second to set up runners on second and third with two outs. Kluvers, Cole Hage, Blake Anderson and Brayden Koenig all hit the ball hard on the ground to reach base in consecutive plate appearances to bring home three more runs and make the score 6-2.

North Dakota added two more to their lead in the fifth when a Kluvers double down the left field line fell just between the line and a diving defender, scoring Caden Headlee and Zach Sandy.

In the bottom of the fifth, the first four batters walked for Louisiana to bring a run home, but two big outs by Austin Manuel nearly stymied the threat. Ron Franklin had a clutch single to bring one more home to make the lead 8-4 before Manuel worked out of the threat.

With a runner on first in the top of the sixth, Brandt Kolpack ripped a double, Drew Sandy walked and Ibach skied a ball over the retreating right fielder to bring home two more Fargo runs. A wild pitch brought home another run, giving the game its final score of 11-4.

"It was a total team effort," said Kluvers, who was 4-for-4 with two runs and three runs batted in. "We wanted to get this win and get to the championship game."

"I just felt they were just playing baseball," coach Lucas Rustad said of North Dakota's long day. "They were confident. We just played solid baseball. Today was just really good approaches and we didn't chase many pitches outside of the zone. When we got pitches we did a good job finding holes."

Destrehan, in its fourth year as a program and first appearance at the American Legion World Series, went 3-0 in pool play to win the Stars division.

Fargo will face the winner of the second semifinal featuring Idaho Falls, Idaho Post 56 and Danville, Ill., Post 210.

"It means a lot to me," Rustad said. "This is this program's fourth trip to the World Series and not a lot of programs have had the privilege to be here. I expect our kids to play a good hard-nosed game and exceptional baseball."

"It's a blast," Kluvers added. "There have been so many teams through North Dakota's history and to be the first team to make it [to the national championship game] is incredible."

Legacy Run Day 2: A chance to show appreciation for fellow veterans

Vietnam War veteran Zackey Sanders has been a member of The American Legion for 30 years, most recently as senior vice commander of American Legion Post 237 in Hardwick, Ga.

For the past "three to four years," Sanders has been a resident of the Georgia War Veterans Home, a part of the Georgia Department of Veterans Service, in Milledgeville, Ga. On Aug. 19, he and other residents stood or sat outside the home, holding flags and waiting in anticipation for their visitors: members of The American Legion Riders taking part in the 2019 Legacy Run.

The Day 2 stop allowed the Legion Riders to meet and talk with the home's residents. For Sanders, it was hard to put into words what the visit meant to him.

"It means the world to me," Sanders said. "It makes you feel special. I get choked up. It means so much to us here at the home. It makes us feel great to know that we're still remembered … for what we did."

Sharon Sculthorpe, a part of the Run's advance team and a member of American Legion Post 325 in Danville, Va., said the home's residents need to know they are not forgotten.

"Veterans are all a big family," she said. "We certainly want them to know how much we appreciate their service, how much we appreciate their sacrifices, how much we appreciate everything they've done for this country, and that no matter what they've always got family.

"Coming here today and getting to talk to them today and put a smile on their face – I love talking to them and hearing their stories. It's just like they're still a part (of the military) and we're still a part, and together we're all still one big military family. They know they're not forgotten."

Russell Feagin, director of the Health and Memorials Division at the Georgia War Veterans Home, said it was an honor for the Riders to stop at the home.

"The veterans appreciate people stopping by to see them, recognizing their service," Feagin said, adding that organizations like The American Legion can help the veterans in the home. "State funds and federal funds tend to be limited … because of the small population, percentage-wise, of people who are veterans. The legislators look at other things as being more important. Unless they're reminded – like rides like this that bring to the forefront the veterans that are there in the population – it's too easy to say ‘we need something else' than it is to remember our veterans."

The veterans home is located next to the Milledgeville VA Clinic, which is part of the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center. For Department of Georgia Senior Vice Commander Mark Shreve, the visit by the American Legion Riders to the home hit home.

"I have a significant connection here. My mother-in-law used to be the director of the VA hospital here," said Shreve, a member of Post 189 in Harris County. "One of the things that she always had told me, even before I joined The American Legion, was how much the Legion meant to this (home). So when they come in today and they meet, what it really says … (is) how much (the Riders) care about our veterans. They really care about our veterans."

Shreve said stops like Monday's and others throughout Georgia bring strong brand awareness to the Legion. "Not only for the visibility of The American Legion, but it helps send the right message," he said. "We're here to help veterans, help their families. They're riding through for a great cause, and to me that's exactly what we're supposed to be doing."

Rousing reception. Paul E. Bolding American Legion Post 7, sitting lakeside on 28 beautiful acres in Gainesville, Ga., opened up its doors to the ride for its evening stop. There, awaiting the Riders, were cadets from nearby Riverside Military Academy, lining the street while saluting and holding U.S. flags.

Founded in 1907, the academy has enjoyed a strong 100-year relationship with Post 7, which was chartered in 1919. "In 100 years you can get to know a neighbor pretty well," Academy Executive Vice President Britt Daniel said. "I'm happy to report that Post 7 has been a great neighbor. We are proud to know you."

The Riders were able to dine on Chick-fil-A boxed dinners during their visit to the post. Calvin Sneed, Post 7's commander, said a request to host the Legacy Run stop resulted in a quick decision.

"I said we'd be proud to honor that event," he said. "It's a lot to it. It is an honor to have the Legacy (Run) here. It's unreal."

Gainesville also proclaimed Aug. 19 American Legion Legacy Run Day.

Reistad's ride. National Commander Brett Reistad rode the first two days of the Legacy Run on the back of the motorcycle, braving rain and heat. Reistad remembered meeting up with the ride and then-National Commander Dan Dellinger during the 2014 Legacy Run, when rain plagued the ride throughout the first three days.

"I can remember seeing them take their helmets off and there was water just dripping outside of them," Reistad said.

The rain that hit this year's ride hasn't bothered Reistad. "I've been wet before. I'll be wet again," he said. "I appreciate the opportunity to see it from the front of the Run. Sometime in the next couple of days I hope to get toward the back and see it all in front of me."

Moments like the Monday stop to honor a Gold Star family and U.S. military KIA are what make the ride – and those on it – special. "That's what The American Legion is all about," Reistad said. "To do something like that along the way, and to make the family of the fallen servicemember feel as though he is still thought of and appreciated obviously meant a lot to the family."

OCW event brings veterans and families to Tacoma baseball game

With a family of four, Nick Pierce estimates a typical trip to the ballpark could cost $250 when you factor in tickets, parking, concessions and souvenirs.

So the opportunity to bring the family to a Tacoma Rainiers game through a grant from The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program was "awesome," Pierce said.

"We went to one (ballgame) last year. We try to do something like that every so often, get (the kids) to experience different things," said Pierce, an active duty Army soldier who brought his wife and two young children to Cheney Stadium for the veteran appreciation event.

OCW, with generous support fromHawthorne Gardening Company, invited 500 veterans and their families to the Aug. 17 game between the Rainiers and the Fresno Grizzlies. In addition to tickets to the game, the families had pregame access to a buffet of hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as time to interact with their fellow veterans and families.

"It's a wonderful event. It's the first year we're hearing about it, and I think it's great to get all the veterans out here in support of each other, and enjoy a night of sport," said Carmita "Angel" Nash, a veteran of the Army and Washington National Guard.

Nash attended the event with her father, Marine and Army veteran Richard Lask. They also joined The American Legion at the event.

"I think it's a good program," Nash said of the Legion. "I'm not part of a veteran program at this time, and I think this would be a good program to start. My dad and I talked about it together, and he said he would like to join, so we decided to go ahead and join up together today."

Mike Elliott, the foundation manager for Washington state American Legion Baseball, said it costs about $40 per person for the amenities. "But it's unlimited buffet, it's a ballgame, they've got some great assets here."

This is the fourth year for the veteran appreciation event at Cheney Stadium after two years holding an event in Seattle at a Mariners game. This is the first year that the Hawthorne Gardening Company was involved.

"The Mariners were good to us, the people here, Caitlin (Calnan) has just gone out of her way and so has the ownership and staff here to make us really feel welcome," Elliott said.

Calnan, the Rainiers' director of group sales and event marketing, said "it's been a great partnership" with The American Legion.

"We have a bunch of assets here that are at our disposal, and we just kind of tailor the event to that, so whether it's we want to get people on the field pregame to honor them, we want to have video boards, PA's, we want to engage with fans or simply we just want to have people out to treat them to a fun night out, it's our job to customize," she said.

Some 25 employees from Hawthorne drove two hours to volunteer their time to welcome veterans and their families to the ballpark and hand out complimentary T-shirts and hats.

"We are a company that has deep military roots," said Brian Herrington, director of government affairs at Hawthorne. "We have veterans throughout the company. We have a deep passion for serving the military and their families. We really appreciate being here with you all tonight."

Department of Washington Commander Bob Clark threw out the first pitch and about 20 of the veterans came onto the field before the game for recognition. At the pregame get-together, Clark thanked the veterans and their families for coming.

"This is what it's all about, getting together, having camaraderie, doing things in a community," Clark said.

Nash agreed. "That's a big part of it; a lot of veterans out there, they're always on their own, or they hear about stuff but at events like this they actually get to come to and see and grab information that they might not have on the outside."

Game 12: Idaho completes sweep of Stripes pool to advance

Idaho Falls, Idaho Post 56 moved to 3-0 in pool play by holding on in a tough 4-3 win over Randolph Co., N.C., Post 45.

The win sends Idaho to the national semifinal at 7 p.m., eliminates North Carolina and allows Fargo, N.D., Post 2 to finish second in the pool. Fargo will play at 4 p.m., in the first semifinal.

Idaho had a few chances early. In the top of the first, a runner reached third with one out but a popout and a strikeout by Trevor Marsh got North Carolina out of trouble.

North Carolina got a leadoff hit from Harris Jackson to start the bottom of the frame and Trevor Marsh lined a double to move him to third. Spencer Lanier's sacrifice fly brought home Jackson and gave the game its first run.

Idaho left two on in the top of the third and the offense was busy again in the fourth.

They tied it up, then with runners on second and third and one out, a fly ball into foul ground forced first baseman Spencer Lanier to range over and make an over-the-shoulder grab. He wheeled and fired home to barely get the runner at home, keeping the lead 1-0.

In the fifth, Idaho broke through for two more to take the lead. Bruer Webster hit a one-out double to the right-field wall and came around on an Alex Cortez single. Randon Hostert and Tavyn Lords hit consecutive singles to bring home Cortez.

Pinch hitter Kai Howell, Webster and Cortez hit consecutive singles to bring home another run to make the lead 4-1.

North Carolina made it interesting in the bottom of the frame, getting two hits, a wild pitch, ground out and sacrifice fly to make the lead 4-3.

Idaho closed the door to seal the win, however. Jace Hanson's five innings of one-run ball were followed by two innings from Andrew Gregersen.

"That was a good team but we had to fight it out," Cortez said. "It's unbelievable. This field, this setup, it's just awesome to be here," Cortez said.

Destrehan, La., Post 366 won the Stars pool and will face North Dakota at 4 p.m., on ESPNU Monday. Following that, Idaho will face Danville, Ill., Post 210 in the other semifinal.