DERRY — For U.S. Army veteran Carol L’Italien, a trip to Fenway Park last week was a chance to play on her own field of dreams.
The Derry resident took part in the July 2 Veterans Skills Camp, hosted by CVS Caremark in partnership with the Boston Red Sox. She was the only New Hampshire participant among a group of veterans from three New England states.
During the camp, the vets took batting practice under the tutelage of Red Sox assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriquez and minor-league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers.
A devoted Sox fan, L’Italien said she had an incredible time and was amazed she was able to take her cuts in the hallowed ballpark.
“It was so fun; I actually got to touch the grass at Fenway,” she said.
L’Italien, 50, had played softball in the past, and that experience helped her in the Fenway batting cage, where she made solid contact with every swing.
Along with batting practice, L’Italien and the other veterans enjoyed lunch in the Red Sox dugout, had photos taken in front of the Green Monster and received a VIP tour of Fenway Park. That night, they were guests in the CVS Pharmacy Family Section for the Red Sox’ game against the Chicago Cubs.
While serving as a corporal in Germany during the 1980s, L’Italien was struck by a car while riding a scooter, her ankle crushed by the collision. Complications led to the loss of her leg and an honorable discharge.
The veterans who participated in the special day at Fenway Park were invited by CVS Caremark through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ New England Adaptive Sports Program, which operates through the VA Boston Healthcare System.
“This is CVS Caremark’s fourth season of partnering with the Red Sox on this initiative, and each year we find ourselves humbled and inspired by the veterans who participate,” Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy for CVS Caremark, said in a release.