By: Sara Stanley
“What better way to make a difference for veterans by participating in something you love; like playing lacrosse and making a difference for those who served our country?”
Michael Kornacki has a military family. He served in the CT Army National Guard for six years with the 192nd Field Artillery Unit and his wife, Kimberly, is currently a Sargent First Class on Active Duty in the United States Army. They wanted to get their young son involved in the Veteran community as well, but how?
Kornacki heard about Shootout for Soldiers from one of his good friends Michael Sullivan while his wife was stationed in Germany. Michael Sullivan is the SFS Boston chair and invited Mike and his son to play in SFS when they got back to the States. They came back, and Mike immediately signed his son up to play in his first ever SFS event.
Mike loved the idea of how SFS brings people together: “Some coming from a mile away and others come from another state, but the main purpose is that it doesn’t matter the distance, what matters is the cause that we are playing for.”
Mike believes in the work of Shootout for Soldiers and motivates his team to remember that each game raises awareness for our Veterans. Mike is in his first year coaching the CT Falcons, located in Groton, CT.
Groton is a military town, home to the largest and oldest submarine base, Naval Submarine Base New London. Mike’s team is “filled with many military and local families that support and work on the base.” The team is made up of U8 players ages 6, 7, 8 along with some older U10 and U12 players to help the younger kids in the game.
When it comes to fundraising, the military community has stepped up to help out. “Our families have donated at least half the money for the team,” he said. Mike’s team has also done some volunteer work, including marching in the Mystic Irish Parade and helping clean up afterwards.
Mike went on to explain how many local business and organizations support his team, like “The Block Island Ferry, The Wireless Zone, The Harp and Hound Restaurant, The Mystic Irish Parade, and many more, have and continue to support our military community.” Another fundraising strategy the CT Falcons use is sharing their fundraising page on social media.
What drives Mike and his team to be so passionate about SFS is the cause: “The fact that I can give back to the veteran community that has given so much to us drives us. I am extremely passionate and dedicated when it comes to supporting those who sacrifice so much for our freedom.”
Mike also dedicates his passion to his wife, explaining how being a military spouse allowed him to see first-hand the sacrifices our military veterans make each and every day. “Hopefully with my passion and dedication, I can help them in return and raise a little more awareness.”
The CT Falcons are set to play at UMass Lowell in Boston this summer. When asked about what he is most looking forward to, Mike explained that having his team “be part of something that means so much to so many veterans, means a great deal to [him].” Mike is also looking forward to reconnecting with some friends, and making some new ones.
“I hope to make a difference for our veterans and hopefully pass on to my children the importance of what they are participating in. I’ve always wanted to teach my team and others that they can do something meaningful.”
To learn more about Mike and his team, visit their fundraising page HERE.