Senior Nikki Freiberg will join the U.S. Marine Corps after graduation.
This Saturday, the Cal State East Bay softball team will host Support the Troops Day during a CCAA doubleheader with Cal State Dominguez Hills at Pioneer Softball Field. The Pioneers are particularly dedicated to supporting the U.S. Military, as Head Coach Barbara Pierce's parents are both veterans, junior Breezy Johnson's brother is set to deploy soon with the Army and Nikki Freiberg was recently sworn in and will be joining the U.S. Marine Corps after graduation.
A senior center fielder for the Pioneers, Nikki talked with eastbaypioneers.com about the event and her plans to become a member of the U.S. Marines Crash Fire Rescue Squad.
eastbaypioneers.com: What prompted you to want to do a Support the Troops Day for Pioneer softball?
Nikki Freiberg: I'm joining the Marines in October and this was a cause that is very important to me. Coach Pierce and some of my teammates have family ties to the military so it was a good fit.
EBP: What are your family ties to the military and how have they reacted to your decision to join?
NF: My uncle was in the Army and served in the Vietnam War. He is my greatest influence and one of my heroes; I look up to him. He and my mom are my biggest supporters in my decision to join the Marines.
EBP: Did your family's military history influence you to join?
NF: I wanted to join the Marines immediately after high school but went to community college to play softball instead. After that, I was going to join but was recruited by Coach Pierce to play softball at East Bay. Serving my country has always been a goal and dream of mine. I am interested in serving with Crash Fire Rescue, an arm of the Marines that helps to fight fires and rescue victims involved in aircraft crashes. Once I finish basic training, if everything works out, I will be able to join the Fire Rescue Squad. I am so excited about serving.
EBP: What lessons have you learned as a student-athlete that will apply to your career in the military?
NF: I learned to be a team player and to have my teammates' backs no matter what. I've learned to have pride in the program and be 100 percent committed. It's great to be part of a team, something bigger than myself. I think I will go into basic so prepared because of what I have learned as an athlete. I am a leader and I've learned that when someone is down they may not be able to pick themselves up, but I know what to do to encourage them to go on.
EBP: What do you think about the team hosting this event?
NF: It's an honor for us to be able to put on this event, especially since Coach Pierce, Breezy and I all have family ties to the military. I'm joining the military because it's something I respect, believe in and hold in high regard and I think my coaches and teammates feel the same way about our Armed Forces. They've all been very supportive and we are excited to be a part of this.
The Pioneers have partnered with Give2theTroops to collect donations of sundry items to be sent to troops serving overseas, allow fans to write messages for the troops and buy raffle tickets to win prizes and collect money to support Give2theTroops. Fans are encouraged to bring items including non-perishable foods, toiletries, entertainment items, sports equipment and other comfort items for donation.
The Pioneers and Toros are set for an 11 a.m. first pitch on Saturday at Pioneer Softball Field. Admission to the game is free and the team will be collecting items throughout the day on Saturday. To find out more information about Give2theTroops, its programs or how to donate, visit its website here.