USO of NC, Green Beret Foundation team up to celebrate birthday of Gold Star Son

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The USO of North Carolina and the Green Beret Foundation joined forces to celebrate Ethan Goodman’s nine-year birthday, hosting a friendly baseball game with his family and friends, Aug. 2, 2020 at a youth baseball field aboard Fort Bragg.

Ethan is the Gold Star son of fallen Green Beret, Master Sgt. Nathan Goodman, who died Jan. 14, 2020 during a routine military free-fall training exercise near Eloy, Arizona. This year marked the first birthday Ethan would celebrate his special day without his father being present. Ethan is a huge fan of baseball and plays on a little league team, that was once coached by his father Nathan.

Knowing that baseball was a passion both him and his father loved and shared, Ethan could think of no better way to celebrate his birthday than spending the afternoon playing ball with his family and closest friends.

Although a majority of the recreational baseball fields and facilities are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, this did not stop the Green Beret Foundation from reaching out to the USO of NC for help in finding a ball field where Ethan could enjoy a fun-filled afternoon playing his favorite sport .

The Green Beret Foundation honors all Green Berets past and present, as well as their families, by connecting them with the right resources to prosper and thrive. The Green Beret Foundation wanted to honor Ethan’s birthday wish, so they reached out to the USO of NC for assistance.

The Green Beret Foundation immediately contacted Brian Knight, the Sandhills Area Operations Director who oversees the USO center located at Fort Bragg. Given the key relationships Knight had with his close colleagues with the Moral Welfare and Recreation (MWR) staff at Fort Bragg, he was able to reserve a baseball field on base for the event.

“Thanks to our good friends at MWR, the USO of NC was able to support the Goodman family, honoring Nathan, and his son by hosting a baseball game on Ethan’s birthday,” said Knight. “Gold Star families are with us forever, and we will do whatever we can to support them,” added Knight.

Knight, a youth baseball coach himself, served as the pitcher the entire game, assisted by parents of the players to ensure the game was conducted in strict adherence to social distancing protocols.

“Before the game started and throughout, we wiped down all the equipment with disinfectant wipes, safeguarding the players and all involved, said Knight. “We made certain the players stayed six-feet apart, and we issued the players a small bottle of hand sanitizer to use throughout the game, safety was paramount,” added Knight.

Following the game, everyone enjoyed pizza and cold refreshments as Ethan unwrapped birthday gifts presented to him by his friends and family. Included in his array of gifts was a special surprise package graciously provided by the Fayetteville Woodpeckers minor league baseball team, which included an authentic baseball jersey.

“We are grateful for the support we continue to receive from the Green Beret Foundation and USO of NC,” said Kelly Goodman, Gold Star Spouse of MSgt. Nathan Goodman. “Today’s baseball game means a great deal to me and my son Ethan who loves baseball,” added Goodman.

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