The Fairfield Ludlowe High School Lacrosse team and the local lacrosse community will host the 7th annual Sticks for Soldiers Thanksgiving Charity Lacrosse Tournament to raise money for severely wounded soldiers on Saturday November 24th at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. Over 700 high school athletes- both boys and girls teams- in varsity and JV divisions are expected to participate, representing more than 45 teams and playing over 90 games during the day in nearby venues. Team entry fees and other fund-raising activities contribute towards the charity goal. The officials – referees and umpires of both boys and girls field lacrosse, also donate their time towards this worthy cause.
This year, honorees will include USMC Cpl. (ret) Greg Caron, 26, of Ellington, Conn., who lost both his lower legs and suffered nerve damage in a booby-trapped IED explosion in Afghanistan the day after Veteran’s Day last November. Following immediate in-country medical care and quick transport to Germany, Greg was taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. There, he received extensive wound treatment, physical therapy and prosthetic training though the last several months of rehabilitation. He and his wife are now adjusting to their lives in Connecticut. It is planned that the Sticks For Soldiers donation, together with that of several other non-profits, will help contribute to building a home for Greg and his family in Ellington.
US Army Captain Gregory Galeazzi of Glastonbury Connecticut will be the second honoree for this years’ support. On May 26th, 2011 Cpt. Galeazzi, an Army Ranger, was seriously wounded while conducting a dismounted patrol in Kandahar Province. The blast caused severe injuries to his legs, requiring above the knee amputations on both limbs, and his right arm was critically damaged. Greg is an Eagle Scout, graduate of Glastonbury High school, and a 2007 graduate of the Loyola University (Md.) AROTC program. Greg has been located at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, where he continues his recovery and rehabilitation.
Jim Tommins, the tournament chairman and Chris Parisi, Ludlowe Head Coach agree, “This charity tournament has galvanized the lacrosse programs in the region to help towards this cause. High schools are entering 2 and 3 teams, and undertaking their own fundraising to help.” Chris Parisi added, “We can’t thank our soldiers and their families enough for their sacrifices. This is our small way to help.” “We’ve even discussed the future of scaling this event to host schools in several cities across the country. There is more we can do,” said Jim Tommins. “In the last 2 years, we have directly helped 4 severely injured soldiers to enhance their lives, and raised over $160,000 since the first tournament in 2006.”
The tournament will begin @ 9:00 am with registration at 8:00 am. A mid-day ceremony recognizing the honorees will be capped by a keynote address given by Fairfield’s own USMC Major John P. Cimina, a decorated Naval Flight Officer stationed at NAS Pensacola. Participating high schools already signed-up include host Fairfield Ludlowe, Fairfield Warde, Fairfield Prep, Ridgefield, Hopkins, St. Josephs, Notre Dame- Fairfield, Barlow, Amity, Staples, Hamden, Cheshire, Newtown, Guilford, Hall- West Hartford, Stamford, Southington, Darien, Wilton, Brien McMahon, Avon, Daniel Hand, Danbury, and Xavier, as well as club teams. Exhibitions will be given throughout the day by the Ludlowe Cheerleading and Dance teams and a 3 & 4h grade youth scrimmage is planned along with a speed shot station. Team entry fees, raffles, and silent auction proceeds and private donations are pooled to support the honorees.
Come, support our troops, show your thanks, and watch some fun fall lacrosse- it beats the shopping mall!
Donations may be sent, payable to “Sticks for Soldiers, Inc.”, PO Box 475, Fairfield, Conn. 06824. For more information, honoree profiles, tournament schedules, location and history, please see www.sticksforsoldiers.org.
About Sticks for Soldiers-
Sticks For Soldiers is a high school charity lacrosse tournament held in Fairfield, Connecticut to raise money for wounded troops. Held on Thanksgiving Saturday, it is sponsored by the Fairfield Ludlowe High School lacrosse team. The primary mission of the tournament is to provide support and give thanks to the service men and women who put their lives on the line and sacrificed for our country. A secondary objective is to create awareness among high school athletes to the sacrifices being made by people just a few years older than themselves. Through their play and fund-raising participation, the athletes demonstrate their tangible thanks and support. Started in 2006, the idea came from long-time lacrosse advocate Mike Voucas. Supported by Fairfield Ludlowe Head Coach Chris Parisi and a number of dedicated volunteers, the tournament and related events and fund-raising efforts has now raised over $160,000 in 6 years.