Operation Hat Trick comes to schools

Baseball and softball teams from high schools in Bedford, Goffstown, Hollis Brookline, Milford and Wilton-Lyndeborough will be among 63 schools state-wide participating in Operation Hat Trick to bring awareness and resources to injured and recovering veterans and service men and women.

Varsity ball players have been busy selling Operation Hat Trick camo hats with their various school logos on them. They will also have the honor to wear the OHT baseball caps to all their games during the week of May 12 to show their support to wounded warriors and raise badly needed funds.

Some school are also planning additional activities for veterans. WLC and Milford are seeking veterans to throw out the first pitch at their home games during the week of May 12.

“I love the idea,” WLC baseball coach Paul Trombley said. “Anything we can do for veterans of this country is great. We would like to have local veterans throw out the first pitch at our home games that week and I don’t care if we have over 10 veterans here.”

Milford coach Steve Claire agreed.

“Operation Hat Trick is a great way for New Hampshire student athletes to recognize wounded veterans,” Claire said. “Milford High baseball and softball players sold well over 100 hats, and more will be available for sale. What a great way to raise awareness for support for those service men and women who were injured in the line of duty.”

Concord athletic director Steve Mello was instrumental in organizing this high school fundraiser.

“I wanted to make high school students aware these service men and women are out there and deserve our support and a lot of them need financial help,” he said. “Military guys are proud and don’t ask for help but OHT find these veterans and offers the help. They paid a pretty heavy price, so it is the least we can do.”

Mello estimate the sale of high school hats will enable them to donate $70,000 to OHT. 100% of the high school profits stay in New Hampshire to help Granite State veterans and injured service men and women.

OHT was founded in 2007 by Dot Sheehan, a University of New Hampshire employee. She heard on the radio that the item injured veterans wanted most were baseball caps to hide wounds, burns, swelling or bandages from head injuries.

“It struck me that this is pretty simple and we should be able to do something about that. We live and die by hockey at UNH, so we named it Operation Hat Trick,” she said. “A few months later one of our professors lost his Navy Seal son and his friend in Iraq so we named OHT in honor of them, Nate Hardy and Mike Koch.”

It started on the streets of Durham and eventually went national. ’47 Brand sells hats outside Fenway Park and people can order baseball caps with almost any logo on them. Many other types of merchandize, such as shirts, visors or fleece are available through Operation Hat Trick at operationhattrick.com. Lids, Barnes & Noble college bookstores and Kohl’s sell the OHT products already and Walmart will be coming on board.