Free sports equipment for military kids is at the heart of United Heroes League

Julia LeDoux
July 10, 2019 - 2:45 pm
Play ball

934th Airlift Wing

The mission of the United Heroes League can be summed up in a handful of words--Keeping military kids happy and active through sports.

“Military kids get overshadowed sometimes,” said United Heroes League Director of Communications Molly Cashman.

The Minnesota-based nonprofit fulfills this mission by providing free sports equipment, tickets, special experiences and skill development camps to military kids and their families.

So far, the organization has helped over 50,000 military families keep or get their kids started in sports.

Photo courtesy United Heroes League

Cashman said the financial burden of paying for sports equipment, camps, and association fees can surpass more than 10 percent of the gross salary of an enlisted service member.  

“We try to help the lower enlisted kids first,” she said.

All active-duty service members are eligible to apply to take part in any UHL program.

“All veterans who have been deployed to a combat zone and honorably discharged are eligible,” she continued. "It is also the service members immediate family only. Step-children yes, but grandkids no. Ideally, we would love to serve all veterans and their families but we don’t have the resources to do so at this time. "

Originally launched as Defending the Blue Line and focusing on hockey, 10 years ago, the effort expanded to include sports such as baseball, football, lacrosse, and soccer. It changed its name to United Heroes League three years ago.

To date, 119 professional athletes and over 30 professional sports franchises are supporters of the United Heroes League.

UHL Texas Rangers
934th Airlift Wing

A warehouse in Minnesota houses all kinds of new and gently used sporting equipment that the organization ships out across the country, Cashman said.

“People in Minnesota can come down to the warehouse and pick up the gear,” she added.

To learn more about the UHL or how you can participate or support its programs, visit the organization website.

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