By: Brent Greenberg
Records are made to be broken. Shootout for Soldiers Atlanta came into 2018 with one goal in mind, do more. Have more teams. Fundraise more money. Get more people involved. At the end of 24 hours, that happened. With over 500 players, we were able to present a check to our charity partners for an Atlanta record of $60,095.
As the players and attendees entered Kennesaw Mountain High School, they were greeted by vendors and our veteran charities. Local charity partners America’s Vet Dogs, and the Patriot Legacy Fund, along with our national charity partners lined the entrance and greeted the attendees with smiles and excitement. Our local partners have unique stories. America’s VetDogs was created to provide enhanced mobility and renewed independence to veterans, active-duty service members, and first responders with disabilities, allowing them to once again live with pride and self-reliance. The Patriot Legacy Fund was founded by SFS Atlanta organizer Jay Puckett and aims to advance the educational opportunities for the children of our service-disabled veterans.
With the hype of breaking fundraising records in the air, taking the field took a back seat to what everyone had done off the field. Seal Team Six (U13) raised over $14,000, including an extra $2,500 on the day of the event and The Chosen Few (2022) raised over $6,000. Two older teams, Rowdy Gentleman and East Cobb Lacrosse, each raised over $3,000 as well. These teams combined raised more money than every team that participated in the first year of SFS Atlanta and was just short of beating the second year of the event. Together, these teams raised over $28,000 and nearly half of the total amount raised this year. An incredible note, Seal Team Six currently has more than double the second place team in the country.
The national fundraising leaders and final game of the event took the field for 15 minutes before lightning struck, causing the closing ceremonies to be pushed forward and begun. Shootout for Soldiers founder Tyler Steinhardt recognized Seal Team Six’s fundraising efforts by awarding the team with challenge coins.
As the closing ceremonies commenced, the crowd was excited to see the final fundraising number. Throughout the 24 hours, an updated fundraising total would be announced occasionally and the amount kept growing substantially each time. $50,000 had been raised by the start of the veteran’s game. $56,000 had been raised by the time the sun rose Sunday morning. And finally, by the time the closing ceremonies began, over $60,000 had been raised. An incredible effort by a growing lacrosse hotbed.