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The largest Shootout for Soldiers nationwide is naturally in the hotbed of lacrosse, Long Island, NY. Over 2,400 players participated this summer in Massapequa, raising an incredible $178,000. Yet it’s what happened at the event that makes it so special – particularly the annual wheelchair lacrosse game, NYPD vs. FDNY hour and special needs game hosted by Organizer Mike Nelson. These games have become a staple in the Long Island and emblematic of the inclusiveness of Shootout for Soldiers.

As the sun began to go down, the Long Island Air Force Association welcomed home 16 Vietnam Veterans in a special medal ceremony. It was a moving tribute to the service of these men who did not get that recognition when they returned home decades ago. As the ceremony finished, the crowd was treated with paratroopers from the All Veteran Group who navigated their way through the air to land at midfield.

Throughout the day, Retired LTC J.C. Glick from the 3rd and 1st Ranger Battalion spoke with teams about his service and the importance of remembering those who fight for us. Glick, who is currently an assistant coach with the Charlotte Hounds, helped bring out a number of MLL players to the event, including Matt Rambo, John Crawley and Mike Chanenchuk. The players and Hounds Head Coach Jim Stagnitta coached the Veterans and Active Duty Game. Afterwards, the Rockville Centre Lacrosse Club honored a Veteran from each team with the Patriot Award, a custom Shootout for Soldiers Long Island helmet.

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The SHAMROX, which raised over $7,500, were the leading team fundraiser for the event while Rob Piscatelli was the highest individual fundraiser with $2,800. Piscatelli managed to play goalie in all 24 hours, jumping into the net for a few shots in each game.

There wasn’t a parking spot open during the event, as over 10,000 people came out in support to raise $178,236.57 for our nation’s veterans. The energy and attendance is a true testament to the patriotism of the local community. As we wrap up 2018, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that the Long Island total is more than Baltimore – raising the bar once again for the founding location.

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