A pitch for philanthropy

Illustration by Jerry Neumann, and story by Jordan Ramos. Featured in the upcoming September 2011 edition of Vine Line.

Several Cubs players have new boots in their closets, but these kicks are much more than they appear to be at first glance.

Randy Wells, Kerry Wood, Ryan Dempster, Andrew Cashner, Jeff Baker, Jeff Samardzija and Mike Quade are all part of the Boot Campaign, an initiative created by five Texas women that supports injured American soldiers. The inspiration came from the book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, in which author Marcus Luttrell recounts Operation Redwing, an ill-fated mission to kill a high-ranking Taliban official in 2005.

Wells was introduced to Luttrell in the offseason.

“When I went down to the charity event and saw how much this book touched so many people, I got it and read it,” said Wells, who wore the boots in spring training.

All proceeds from the boots benefit charities that strive to make a positive impact on the lives of wounded returning soldiers or those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Wells and the Cubs have joined the likes of the Florida Marlins, Detroit Red Wings and Jacksonville Jaguars, as well as countless other athletes and celebrities, in this campaign to show support for U.S. troops.

“This is very important to me. It’s friends helping friends, and that’s what I’m all about. And on top of it, it’s something I believe in,” Wells said.

To see the Cubs showing their support, visit bootcampaign.com.

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