CT's Sticks for Soldiers Raises Over 50,000

Fairfield, CT, December 27, 2011 - A spring-like Saturday in November brought out the best in the Connecticut High School lacrosse community as 37 boys and girls teams, volunteers, referees, parents, alumni, local companies and supporters pulled together to raise over $50,000 at the 6th annual Sticks for Soldiers Tournament held over the Thanksgiving weekend at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

Proceeds from this year's efforts will support three severely-injured servicemen who were present with their families at the event: USMC Sgt. Liam Dwyer of Litchfield, Connecticut; Army Pfc. Josh Budd of Cheshire, Connecticut; and USAF Tech Sgt. ( Ret.) Joe Wilkinson of Troy, New York. They each suffered injuries while serving in the Middle East.

With temperatures an unseasonably warm mid- 60's and American Flags dotting the fields, the day was festive. At mid-day, a ceremony was held to introduce and honor the three servicemen, and included the impressive Fairfield Police Department Honor Guard flanked by over 1500 athletes and supporters at Taft Field. US Marine Corps Lt. Col. Thomas Armas gave stirring remarks as he explained the sacrifice these men have made protecting our country as well as their fellow soldiers.

Tournament Director Jim Tommins welcomed and thanked all the teams, nearly 100 volunteers, and supporters. Teams played over 80 games in 3 venues, the Fairfield Ludlowe Cheerleaders and Dance Team performed, a 2nd grade pee-wee scrimmage was held and the silent auction table, raffles, bake sale and T-shirt tables were busy helping the fund-raising effort. Every team participating was challenged to raise money over and above the team entrance fee, and 7 teams raised more than $1,000 each.

Liam Dwyer was truly appreciative, "Thank you to all the volunteers and everyone else involved in Sticks for Soldiers. I truly feel honored to be one of the three recipients this year. Your generosity and support are beyond anything I could have hoped for." Joe Wilkinson shared the sentiment, "We couldn't have asked for a better time! We had a lot of fun. We can never fully repay you all for what you have done but we will pay it forward."

Josh Budd agreed, "It's great what they're doing in support of us all, it's awesome." Barbara Budd, Joshua's mother added, "It is really encouraging to see so much support for Josh, Liam and Joe and for them to know that they are not forgotten ... We really are thankful for everything." Organizer Jim Tommins said, "All of us are so thankful to these young men, and it's a privilege to work with the teams and volunteers, and motivate our players to think beyond themselves and make this happen. The support has been exceptional."

For updated donation and tournament information, list of participating teams, and history, please see www.sticksforsoldiers.org, or contact Jim Tommins at jtommins@yahoo.com .

Sticks for Soldiers is a charity lacrosse tournament held in Fairfield, Connecticut to raise money for wounded troops. Held on Thanksgiving Saturday, it is sponsored by Fairfield Ludlowe High School. 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. Begun 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 has now raised over $160,000 in 6 years.


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