“Bright lights. Big screens. A Major League Lacrosse field. Who else wouldn’t want to play on that?”
USMC Infantry Sergeant Jeremy Hirata described the atmosphere that spectators, players and volunteers alike were able to enjoy for 24 straight hours during Shootout for Soldiers Ohio at Fortress Obetz July 15th and 16th.
“The atmosphere from opening to closing was electric,” he said. Hirata had been looking forward to playing in the 2017 Veterans game right when the final whistle for the 2016 Vets game was blown! He as well as the other Vets who kicked off SFS Ohio were thrilled to be coached by celebrities in the lacrosse world.
“Having [Ohio Machine Head Coach] Bear Davis and the Ohio State Men’s Lacrosse Coach, Nick Myers there…it brings another feeling of adrenaline and excitement,” Hirata said.
Local organizer, Merry Troper, has taken charge of SFS Ohio for the past three years. She described the months of calls, meetings and heavy lifting that went into making SFS Ohio 2017 such a success.
“When last year’s SFS Ohio ended, I immediately started to think about how to make 2017 even better. I think we did just that,” Troper said. “Partnering with the Ohio Machine and having a Major League Lacrosse game during the 7:00 pm time slot was something else.”
Never before in Shootout for Soldiers history has a professional lacrosse team taken part in the 24 hours. Merry Troper and her incredible organizing committee made that a possibly with their hard work and the Machine’s willingness to support an incredible cause.
“There are other teams that made SFS Ohio a blast, especially the all goalie team,” Troper said. “Yes, goalies played every position. It was a sight to see! From having three generations playing on the field at once, moms in tutus, dads playing for the first time and grandparents running down the field, action was packed into every hour of play.”
As the final horn sounded signaling the end of 24 hours of play, Troper’s organizing team handed a check for $45,172 over to SFS’s national charities and two local charities, Honor Flight Columbus and Blue Star Mothers.
“You can’t ask for more,” Hirata said. “You can’t rate success on monetary value.
As long as everyone is having fun, everyone is having a great day, you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
After the check presentation, teams of volunteers stacked chairs and tables, picked up loose pieces of trash and packed up raffle items. But what was on Merry Troper’s mind as SFS Ohio came to an end? You can probably guess.
It’s all about giving back to our Veterans. I’m ready for 2018 are you?