The USC baseball team will wear Salute the Brave caps during its game with… (Salute the Brave )
Louis Zamperini, the 95-year old former Olympic runner, World War II veteran and subject of the 2011 bestseller “Unbroken,” is scheduled to throw out the first pitch Sunday when USC’s baseball team plays host to Washington on Salute to the Brave Military Appreciation Day at Dedeaux Field.
The event is the brainchild of Ryan Morris, a former USC walk-on baseball player who started a company called Salute the Brave that manufactures and sells baseball caps and garments celebrating the military.
Morris, a 22-year-old senior from Atherton, Calif., has the entrepreneurial spirit in his background. His grandfather, Mervin Morris, founded the Mervyn’s department store chain.
Morris said he got the idea for his company shortly after he was cut from the team on the eve of the season opener in 2011.
Morris said he was despondent about his situation, but got a wakeup call when he met an older student in one of his classes who had completed three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marines.
“After hearing the guy talk about the trips and not knowing when he would see his family again, it changed my perspective,” Morris said.
The conversation helped inspire Morris to start his line of apparel. For every item purchased, the company donates another one and sends it overseas in care packages to military personnel.
USC players and coaches will wear Salute to the Brave camouflage caps during Sunday’s game. The baseball program bought 200, so Morris said he was looking forward to donating 200 to troops overseas.
All military personnel will be admitted free to Sunday’s game and they and their family members will receive a camouflage cap. The game begins at 1 p.m.