By: RJ Kaminski
Shootout for Soldiers Boston fundraised $56,586 for its four Veteran charity beneficiaries and two local charities. More than 1,050 players participated between Friday and Saturday and more than 6,000 spectators came out to watch and experience the event held at University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Colonel Mike Sullivan and fellow volunteers raised the American flag on a pole half its size approximately 3 hours before SFS Boston kicked off. The flag stood so tall that kids in the neighborhood tweeted that they could see it from their homes.
Servicemen of all different branches and generations funneled through the gates to kick off the 24 hours with the Veterans game. Scott Freyer, Retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer came out to play in order to pay tribute to those who “laid it all on the line” for their country.
“To have something we love, combine with a cause that we are 110% supportive of, being a military family, made Shootout For Soldiers Boston the experience of a lifetime,” Freyer said. “We are proud to contribute, even just a small amount, and give back to those who have unselfishly given so much.”
Freyer couldn’t contain his excitement the night before, expressing his enthusiasm on his van’s back windshield.
Others expressed their excitement by fundraising weeks ahead of the event. Duxbury lacrosse club, a group of local third and fourth graders, came into their Saturday time slot having raised $10, 768. The parents of boys on the team proudly stood on the sidelines, admiring the bold fundraising number their children accomplished all on their own.
The team sold lollipops, bake sale items and even held a car wash to hit such an incredible number before the day of the event. Their energy on Saturday paralleled the energy it must’ve taken them to hit that goal.
Energy is also what it took Al St. Louis to set a world record this past weekend. St. Louis belted out the National Anthem 25 times over 24 hours, breaking a world record. [Full story].
Organizers Mike Sullivan and Rachael Rennie shattered their 2016 SFS goals.
“Last year we had a lot of trouble with filling all our time slots, so Sully and I made two goals,” Rennie said. “To completely sell out the event in 2016, and to raise over $50,000.”
Sullivan, a Veteran himself, recognizes the amount of good those fundraising dollars are going to do once distributed to the charities Shootout for Soldiers supports.
“As an active duty Army Officer who has served over 22 years, I have witnessed the physical, mental and emotional wounds my brothers, sisters and their families have to endure,” Sullivan said. “We all know the care they require will take a lifetime and it is more than just the government’s responsibility to take care of them.”
Those that utilize the funds raised by Shootout for Soldiers lined the entrance ways of the UMass Lowell parking lot, talking to folks about their mission and what they’re all about. Jill Brodsky of Ranger Lead the Way Fund enjoyed interacting and handing out goodies to those who came out to support over the 24-hour period.
“We can’t say enough about our experience at SFS Boston,” Brodsky said. “The event was a smashing success and ran so smoothly.”
Brodsky will be on the road just as much as our team this summer, as she will be hitting all of the cities on our map these next few months!
“It’s going to be a great summer in support of our selfless Warriors and Veterans and we are thrilled to be one of the beneficiaries of this great event!”
From 72-year-old Veterans playing, fathers facing off against their sons, to the shattering of a world record, Shootout for Soldiers Boston far surpassed expectations. Even offering moments like this…
Toward the end of the 24 hours, three generations of lacrosse players took the field at once.
Bob (70), Jamie and Nate Waldinger (7) had a chance to do something that has only been done a couple times before at a Shootout for Soldiers. This may be what folks refer to when they say, “Kodak Moment.”