By: Hooper Neale
For Cory Kahoun, being involved in the first-ever Shootout for Soldiers Ohio last summer as both a player and a parent of players was the highlight of his long lacrosse career. He had the opportunity to play himself, to watch his son and daughter play in the event, to play alongside his daughter in the Father/Daughter game and to coach his son’s team.
“In all my years of playing lacrosse – from high school, to college, to professional – playing in Shootout For Soldiers last July has to rank at the top of the list,” Kahoun said. “It was an experience like no other where I got to play and to coach, while at the same time paying tribute to our military.”
Despite the praise Kahoun has for his experience in the 2015 Ohio event, this year’s event is even more important. He says that this year, the event is sacred to him.
“The team I will coach, Team Smitty #1386, is a group of 5th & 6th grade boys who will be playing in honor of fallen Columbus, Ohio Police SWAT Officer, Steve Smith, whose son, Jesse, was a Marine,” Kahoun explained. “Steve was killed in the line of duty during the middle of our spring lacrosse season this past April. As an officer with CPD, many of my players and parents of players were asking me what they could do to honor Steve and his family and my only thought was of Shootout for Soldiers and all that it represents and symbolizes. Although not a veteran himself, Steve’s son Jesse proudly served as a US Marine.”
Honoring Smith gives the players a connection that helps them to better comprehend what they are playing and raising money for. “My players understand that those who serve both in our military, as well as national and local law enforcement, sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice,” Kahound said. “Shootout For Soldiers will offer all of us – me, my players, the parents and their families – the opportunity to honor Steve’s son’s commitment to the Marines and at the same time honor Steve himself as a hero. These young boys on Team Smitty are learning what it means to give back to their community and will proudly play in SFS to honor Steve’s prideful commitment of supporting those who serve our country.”
Participating in the Shootout for Soldiers allows teams like Team Smitty to work together to support a common goal: to support our nation’s Veterans. Additionally, Kahoun points out that it is a great way for families to spend time together while working toward that same goal.
“What an incredibly humbling experience to be able to participate in a game of the sport I love, to be able to watch my daughter play and develop a love for the game and to passionately coach my son’s team providing them the opportunity to serve their community,” Kahoun said. “SFS Ohio is now a Kahoun family tradition!”