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By: RJ Kaminski

The two reflections below are from the Honorary Captains of Shootout for Soldiers Boston, Matthew Ridley and Dora Vasquez-Hellner.

“Being an Honorary Captain at Shootout for Soldiers was an amazing experience. It meant a whole lot to me to be able to join an event that had two of my passions together; being a soldier and being a lacrosse player. Not only was I able to see how so many people came together for this event in support of soldiers but how everyone was so happy to do it. I was able to share both military experiences with coaches and players as well as give tips and connect through my passion of lacrosse. In addition, it was awesome to see an event fundraising for multiple military organizations. As well as, an event that ran for a 24 hour non-stop time period. This truly showed how dedicated and meaningful this event was. I hope to be a part of this event next year whether it is my college team playing in it or being an Honorary Captain again.”

Matthew Ridley
Specialist in the 1166th Transportation Company


A photograph from the Veterans' game at Shootout for Soldiers Boston.

A photograph from the Veterans’ game at Shootout for Soldiers Boston.


“Volunteering as honorary team captain for Shootout for Soldiers Boston was beyond my wildest dreams. Following my introduction to the team, coach and assistant coaches, I shared some of military experiences with the players. At the end of my presentation several of the young players came up to me, shook my hand and thanked me for my service. It is one thing to be thanked by adults but to truly see the appreciation by these young players was beyond belief. Needless to say it was difficult not to get emotional over this exchange. During the course of the two-hour game I was very impressed to see the stamina displayed by the players and their coaches. During the course of the game I did not experience any complaints from the players. They were always ready to go on the field and play whatever position designated by their coach. Their most notable trait was heart. They were kind and respectful to everyone they came in contact with.

After the game, away from the field, I ran into a player. He approached me to thank me for my service. He readily put his hand out to shake my hand. I asked him how long he had been playing lacrosse. His response was, “half of my life, which is five years now.” I quickly did my math and told him his age. We had a good chuckle. What a great young man. I also shared my appreciation for his gratitude. This experience as an Honorary Team Captain renewed my faith in America.”

God Bless America.

Dora Vasquez-Hellner
1SG, Retired