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Padres, USAA celebrate military kids as they go back to school

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres, in partnership with USAA, hosted more than 100 local military kids at Petco Park Thursday for a baseball skills clinic featuring Padres players Colt Hynes, Casey Kelly and Clayton Richard, as well as members of the club's baseball operations staff.

The clinic allowed for the kids to enjoy a day designed just for them on a Major League field. Padres players taught hitting, fielding and pitching skills, while also answering questions and providing feedback throughout the process.

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"All the kids were excited to be on the field, play catch, hit some balls and play a little game," said Padres pitcher Casey Kelly. "It was a great day to support these kids to make sure they could forget about all the other stuff and just come out and have fun for a couple hours."

The group of participants was comprised of sons and daughters of Marines with the IMEF (First Marine Expeditionary Force) headquarters at Camp Pendleton, representing Marines throughout Southern California. These military kids have a parent who either recently returned from deployment, or is training to deploy later this winter to Afghanistan or other places around the globe. All of these Marines are part of our nation's global crisis response force and could be deployed at any time.

"As an organization, we are grateful for the opportunity to thank our military kids, and let them know how much they are appreciated," said Padres Senior Vice President, Public Affairs Sarah Farnsworth. "It's important to recognize that they also serve our nation through their parents' deployments and relocations."

Sons and daughters of Sailors who returned from a one year deployment earlier this spring and are in the midst of training for future operations, also were in attendance. All of the clinic participants have been invited back to Petco Park for Salute to the Military Family presented by USAA on Sunday, September 22.

The Padres and USAA encourage San Diegans to support our military families by supporting deserving local organizations like the Armed Services YMCA with operations at Camp Pendleton and in San Diego, and Operation Homefront California, serving military families in the San Diego area. For more information on such organizations, visit www.padres.com/military

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