FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW)– The second annual Home Runs for Heroes charity softball tournament in Florence aimed to raise awareness for mental health issues among veterans.

“We’re in it to win it, but the main thing is getting an ear out to anyone who might need to talk,” said Michael Kirby, coach of the team Warrior’s Whisper.

Kirby said the team, which is made up of veterans, was formed to compete in the last iteration of the tournament and that mental health awareness is close to his heart.

“Everybody hears the warrior’s war cry when we go to war, but nobody hears the warriors whisper back and forth to each other when they get home,” he said. “We have lost so many. I have lost several people from my unit to suicide since we got back from Iraq.”

Warrior’s Whisper was one of nine teams competing at the nonprofit Beacon of Light Institute for Veterans event.

“It’s important to take care of yourself mentally because if you don’t, it can stem into any type of reaction,” said Dr. Yolonda Holmes-Echols, founder and president of Beacon of Light. “Let’s take care of your mental health, then everything else will fall into place.”

Holmes-Echols said the organization aims to connect veterans with resources like housing and counseling, a cause many of the competitors identify with.

“If I can just change one person’s mindset, let them know they are not alone, it was a successful tournament,” Kirby said.