GROSSE POINTE FARMS, Mich. – It is a day filled with Christmas celebrations and lot of food for local veteran families here at The War Memorial and it is all made possible by that really good pitcher who used to play here before he took his talents south to Houston.
Baseball veteran Justin Verlander is giving back this holiday season to military veterans.
"Although Justin is no longer a Tiger, his heart is still here in Detroit and he wants to be able to continue what he started when he was a Tiger," said Sherrie Handrinos, with Verlander's foundation, Wins for Warriors.
This particular event put on by the foundation is called 1000 Christmas Salutes. Families are able to come to The War Memorial and enjoy a meal, watch a movie in the downstairs movie theater and get a chance to see Santa Claus, who arrives in an unforgettable fashion
"Last year, we came and he just loved Santa coming in the helicopter. He can't wait. He is already watching out the window," said U.S. Navy veteran, Aerial Bayko.
And while these Metro Detroiters may no longer be rooting for Verlander's team, they're certainly thankful that such a popular athlete put on this fun filled event for their families to enjoy.
"Somebody at that high level of his profession and has so many other things going on in his life, to look out for other people who might not be able to do stuff like this, to have opportunities like this, it is cool," said U.S. Army Veteran, James Bucy.
The event has been so successful here in Metro Detroit, Verlander started the same event for veteran families in Houston, where he currently pitches.
Bayko said she hopes her son can learn from Verlander's kindness by attending this event each year.
"Hopefully, he will care that much when he gets older and maybe he will want to help people," she said.