“Giving Thanks” is a tradition at Fairfield Ludlowe High School on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
This past Thanksgiving weekend, more than 700 high school boys and girls lacrosse players on 46 teams, and over 400 adult volunteers, supporters, active military, alumni and spectators braved the cold and windy elements, and came together to raise more than $65,000 for two severely-wounded Connecticut soldiers at the 7th annual Sticks for Soldiers Thanksgiving Lacrosse Tournament.
Proceeds from this year’s efforts, a new high, will support rehabilitation needs of the two honorees, US Army Captain Gregory Galeazzi of Glastonbury and USMC Sgt. Greg Caron of Ellington.
Both men were seriously wounded with bi-lateral leg amputations and other injuries sustained by separate IED explosions in Afghanistan in 2011.
Hosted by the Fairfield Ludlowe lacrosse team, teams from more than 35 Connecticut towns and cities from Stamford to Hartford participated. The tournament and related activities raises funds and awareness for severely- wounded military personnel and has now raised over $225,000 since 2006.
Event Chairman Jim Tommins emceed the mid-day ceremony and introduced honoree Sgt. Greg Caron, and the brothers and sister of Captain Galeazzi, who was unable to travel to Connecticut.
A surprise of the day was the attendance of Brendan Marrocco, the 2010 honoree, and the War on Terror’s first surviving quadruple amputee.
This was Marrocco’s first trip to the Fairfield tournament, and he was accompanied by his father Alex, and Kelly Marrocco.
“This tournament is a great way to use the sport we love, to thank, honor and raise money to support these men who have sacrificed for us,” Tommins said. “We can’t thank servicemen like Captain Galeazzi, Sergeant Caron and Brendan enough.”
The ceremony was capped by an inspirational keynote address given by USMC Major John P. Cimina, a decorated Naval Flight Officer and Fairfield native, who reminded the athletes that in life, as in sports and the military, “It is always the TEAM that accomplishes the Mission.”
Donations are still being accepted for this year and may be sent payable to Sticks for Soldiers, Inc., PO Box 475, Fairfield, Conn. 06824.
For more information about the charity, its history and future events, please see sticksforsoldiers.org. or contact Tommins at [email protected]
The 2013 tournament is planned for Saturday, Nov. 30, and the non-profit is interested in scaling this tournament concept to other host schools in regions around the country.
About Sticks for Soldiers
Sticks For Soldiers is a high school charity lacrosse tournament held in Fairfield 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 more than $225,000 in seven years.