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by: Hooper Neale

In some towns, children essentially grow up with a lacrosse stick in their hands. In Suwanee, Atlanta, however, this is not the case. According to lacrosse coach and veteran Jay Puckett, most families in the town have never seen a game of lacrosse. Puckett coaches North Gwinnett High School, a team from Suwanee participating in the 2016 Atlanta Shootout for Soldiers. The school added a varsity team only five years ago, but volunteer parents have helped the team grow to a point where it can participate in the Shootout for Soldiers.

After researching the Shootout for Soldiers and seeing what it has done for veterans, Puckett says that he cannot think of a better way to give back to veterans making the transition to civilian life. When he saw that the event was trying to expand to more cities, Puckett reached out to various contacts and helped create an organizing committee for the 2016 Atlanta event.

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Puckett grew up playing lacrosse and played for three years at the Air Force Academy. Two of his teammates, Dan Jenkins c/o 1997 and Pace Weber c/o 1998, passed before they could graduate and Puckett wants to do something to honor them. He decided to register his North Gwinnett High School Lacrosse team, and dedicated its participation to Jenkins and Weber.

“I know they both would have been all in for this event,” says Puckett, “and I want to honor them by making it the best it can be”.