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      Retired Major League Ump Visiting Some of Grand Island's Veterans

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      Retired Major League Baseball umpire Larry Barnett used to get into a lot of arguments to make a living, butinjured and ill veterans at the Grand Island VA Medical Center in Grand Island are looking forward to the banter during his visit on Monday as part of the DAV VA Voluntary Service program.

      Mr. Barnett has been visiting injured and ill veterans hospitalized at VAmedical centers since 1977, bringing cheer and encouragement to the men andwomen who sacrificed so much for the cause of liberty.

      Mr. Barnett says the veterans at VA medical centers don't get many visitorsand he tries to entertain them with light and humorous baseball stories.

      During Mr. Barnett's visits, he lets his audience, anywhere from 25 to 200patients, take charge of the conversation. He said patients often want todiscuss more serious topics such as strikes or how umpires weather the wrath ofstormy managers, players, or fans.

      Mr. Barnett makes about 50 visits to VA medical centers each year, both duringand after the baseball season. Since he retired from the big leagues in July1999, he enjoys spending more time with injured and ill veterans.

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