July 18, 2007

Recruiter takes ‘Guardsmen’ to softball World Series

The Roanoke-based “Guardsmen” won the 2007 Memorial Day weekend “Best of the West” tournament in Salem, Va., and qualified for the USSSA World Series Sept. 13-17 in Orlando, Fla. (Courtesy photo)

By Capt. Dayna Rowden
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

ROANOKE, Va. – Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Morris, an Army National Guard recruiter in Roanoke, has a unique opportunity to not only recruit the best and brightest to serve the Commonwealth and the nation but also to represent the National Guard on a truly winning team.

On May 27, the “Guardsmen,” a United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) softball team from Roanoke, Va., competed in and won the “Best of the West” softball tournament in Salem, Va.

Morris, a third baseman on the team and the only true active Guardsman, sponsored the team out of pocket last season, and named it the ”Guardsmen” for the National Guard.

This year the team is sponsored by S&E Rods and Customs and MKB Realtors and received funding for uniforms through Docupak from Mission Zone “points.”

Recruiters can earn Mission Zone points through increased performance; the more they recruit, the more points they get. Docupak, a contracted marketing company for the National Guard Bureau, distributes promotional items to the recruiters based on the points.


Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Morris, a Virginia National Guard recruiter, sponsored the team out of pocket last season and named it the “Guardsmen.” (Courtesy photo)


Morris earned over 24,000 Mission Zone points for the uniforms.

Morris, who also coaches varsity football special teams at Lord Botetourt High School and baseball at Patrick Henry High School, says that the softball team is a great way to raise awareness of the National Guard and can be used as a conversation starter and recruiting tool.

Last year, at the Western State Softball Championships in Salem, Va., he met Pvt. Elena Witt, Det. 1, 229th Military Police Company, who was then a rising high school softball star competing in a girl’s softball tournament at an adjacent field. She asked him who the “Guardsmen” were, and this question opened the door to her joining the Virginia National Guard.

Softball to Morris is more than just a sport.

“In my life, I have two loves (besides my wife and children) - the National Guard and softball,” says Morris. “This way I can do good things for both of them. It’s a great way to give back to the community.”

With their Memorial Day weekend win, the Guardsmen look forward to competing on Sept. 13-17 at Orlando, Fla., in the USSSA World Series.

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