8th Sticks for Soldiers Charity Lacrosse Tourney in CT Nov. 30

Fairfield, Conn., October 23, 2013- Two severely-wounded US Army soldiers have been named the honorees and beneficiaries for this years' 8th annual Sticks for Soldiers Thanksgiving Charity Lacrosse Tournament, hosted by the Fairfield Ludlowe High School boys' lacrosse program on Saturday, November 30th.

US Army Captain Benjamin Harrow and US Army Specialist Sean Pesce both sustained life-changing injuries from separate incidents in Afghanistan in May and October of 2012 respectively.

Sticks for Soldiers is a non-profit charity with its mission to raise money to support future needs of severely-wounded soldiers, and promote youth awareness of their service through the tournament. It is organized and hosted by volunteers of the Fairfield Ludlowe High School lacrosse team. Held every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it is the players who "give thanks" to these servicemen and women.

This year, over 850 high school athletes - both boys' and girls' teams - are expected to participate, representing more than 58 teams and playing over 110 games during the one–day event. The officials of both boys' and girls' field lacrosse also donate their time towards this worthy cause. Team entry fees and other fund-raising activities, including private donations, contribute towards the charity support.

US Army Captain Benjamin Harrow, Green Beret, currently of Rockville, Maryland. Captain Harrow, 32, is a 2005 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, originally from Great Neck, Long Island. He was a 4- year letterman with Army Lacrosse. Following Infantry Basic School, then Ranger School, Ben went on to the Special Forces Qualification "Q" Course and earned the coveted Green Beret Special Forces tab. He became a Special Forces Commander for two years.

During his second tour in Afghanistan in May 2012, he was severely wounded after stepping on a mine while leading a foot patrol that resulted in amputation of both of his legs above the knee and severe damage to his right arm. He has earned 3 Bronze stars and a Purple Heart. He remains positive, is relentless and focused on his rehab and his family, and thinks of the men in his unit often. Ben is married to his wife Gina and they have a 2 year old son, Peyton. They are currently living in Rockville, Maryland while he continues to undergoing therapy at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.

US Army Specialist Sean Pesce, Ranger, of West Haven, Connecticut. Specialist Pesce, 21 years old, is a 2011 graduate of West Haven High School in West Haven, Connecticut. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the US Army and completed the rigorous Ranger training, the Army's elite mobile force. On October 12, 2012, while clearing buildings, Sean was shot 13 times in a close-range fire-fight with Afghan insurgents that killed his sergeant. He sustained major injuries and blood loss through his body: he lost his spleen, a kidney, and shattered his vertebrae that also damaged his spinal cord.

Sean is paralyzed from the waist down and has been recovering from numerous surgeries, rodding and spinal fusion, first at Walter Reed, then Tampa VA Center, and finally at Mass VA hospital. He received a Purple Heart for his combat injuries while at Walter Reed, and was awarded a Bronze star. Now living in a apartment in Massachusetts, he plans to come home to his family in West Haven once his parent's home can be modified for his needs. Sean's family includes his father Dan, his mother Gail, 2 brothers and his grandparents.

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2013-10-22



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