By: Charley Reagan
“We want our players to know that what they do off the field is just as important as what they do on the field.”
HOCO Lacrosse 2025/2024 Coach Alison Eyre is on the leadership team for the Central Maryland Chapter of The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. During her time there, Eyre heard out about Shootout For Soldiers and she knew that she wanted to help.
“We signed up because we love the structure of the event; having players from multiple lax teams coming together to participate for the good of the cause (supporting our troops), and not to ‘win’,” says Eyre. Even better for both of Eyre’s HOCO teams, this year’s SFS Baltimore event takes place right in their own backyard.
The Shootout For Soldiers cause runs deep in the HOCO 2025 lacrosse team. Eyre says that many of her players have deep military roots, and she herself had two grandfathers in the Army, one as a Lt. Col. and the other as a Warrant Officer.
The top fundraiser for HOCO 2025, Gabriella Barnard, has had a fascination and appreciation for the military since she was 5 years old. She met a girl named Avery in Kindergarten and learned that she had recently lost her father, an active duty, who served seven years as a Marine. Gabriella was so sad for the little girl and yet amazed at how brave her dad was. Avery’s dad, Josh Cole Parish, was stationed in Sangin, Afghanistan, where he built water pump stations for the local villagers. He also worked to rebuild a school in Gereshk, where a plaque now hangs in his honor. This story, along with the fact that her grandfathers are devoted to the military (one served in the Army with Elvis Presley, the other a member of the Governor’s Commission on Suicide Prevention), is what drives her to do all she can to help our Veterans.
Coach Eyre and her group of 4th and 5th graders have June 20th and 21st circled on their calendars. Their purpose? “Coming together as a community, to have fun playing a sport we love, while giving back to all the soldiers who are fighting for us. We want the players to understand the importance of this event, to help and give back to the soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our country.”
HOCO Lacrosse 2025 has raised nearly $2,400 for our Veterans so far! To check out the rest of HOCO 2025, or to donate to their team, click here!