By: RJ Kaminski
Harry Jacobs is the Organizer of Shootout for Soldiers Long Island and has two sons whose work goes hand-in-hand with the mission of the event. One son, Steven Jacobs, is a coach for Recon lacrosse, a team that aims to improve the skills of its players while also teaching them to honor those who have served and continue to serve. The other, David Jacobs, is an active duty Company Commander in the U.S. Army.
Whether it is friends, family or peers, Jacobs has been surrounded by a military presence his entire life. David has served in the army for about eight years now, and his military presence in particular drove Harry to organize Shootout for Soldiers Long Island.
“As a father I’m very, very proud of him,” Harry said. “He has done a lot when it comes to defending his country.”
David remembers his exact inspiration for getting involved in the military.
“[He] was a 9th grader when 9-11 happened,” Harry said. “[That day] he stood on his football field in Planview, which is one of the highest spots in Long Island. He could see the smoke coming from the Trade Center. That day is when he said to himself, ‘I’m going into the military.’”
Commissioned out of the Virginia Military Institute as a Second Lieutenant, David Jacobs has completed two tours overseas and is currently a Company Commander with the 4th Infantry Division, 3/61 CAV.
“He’s currently getting ready to be deployed for a third time to Afghanistan in what looks like October,” Harry said. “We’re trying to get him back to Shootout for Soldiers but we don’t know if we’ll be able to because of their training schedule.”
Even when he was away for the event during his second tour, David was able to create something special by garnering support for Shootout for Soldiers through social media.
South of Kandahar in the middle of Taliban County, David and his division had a chance to see the photos and videos being posted through the Shootout for Soldiers Instagram account.
“All they kept saying was, ‘That was really cool. That’s really cool what you guys are doing.’,” Harry said. “Even though they were in a war zone and they’re fighting, they were pretty much able to see what was going on back home.”
Harry Jacobs wants more of that, and hopes to see a lot of veteran engagement in Long Island this year. He has been distributing invitations to make sure the military presence this year exceeds that of Long Island’s inaugural game.
“I’ve got two sets of color guards that are coming,” Harry said. “The same team last year which is the Merchant Marine Academy team [and] Hofstra is sending their ROTC unit over this year.”
Harry referenced the increased veteran presence at the Baltimore event from the first year to the second. He has hopes of doing just that for Shootout for Soldiers Long Island this summer.
“Now we’re really starting to put the pedal to the metal,” Harry said. “We’re trying to get more vets down there.”
Harry has had a lacrosse stick in his hands since his early childhood, but witnessing the excitement surrounding the Shootout for Soldiers from veterans like his own son has been one of his favorite memories of the sport.
“Shootout for Soldiers is top five in anything I’ve ever done with lacrosse if not the number one… It helps us say thank you to our men and women in uniform who have given so much of themselves to keep all of us free.”