By: Brent Greenberg
With Ft. Bragg and Camp Lejeune nearby, it was fitting that Shootout for Soldiers come to Raleigh in 2018. From the moment the event started, you could feel the connection to the military community as over $35,000 was raised for American veterans.
To start the event, the participants in the Veterans Game sang the National Anthem after the microphone kicked out, a truly special moment for the fans in attendance.
Many of these veterans hadn’t played in a lacrosse game or even picked up a stick in recent years. One of SFS Raleigh event organizer Kaitlyn Cole’s favorite moments was talking to the veterans throughout the event and hearing about how it was the first time they played a lacrosse game in years and how good it felt to be back.
Attending the event and helping coach the veteran’s game was NC State head lacrosse coach Chris Demarest who said. “The event gave the whole North Carolina lacrosse community a reason to come together to support a great cause. I believe the growth of the event will grow the togetherness of our lacrosse community here in North Carolina.” Demarest not only coached the veteran’s game but stuck around and even got a chance to get some shots in with his son between games!
An integral part of every Shootout for Soldiers event are the volunteers that help each event run from start to finish. The Raleigh community showed up in full force helping us run both fields at Cardinal Gibbons HS, keeping score/time and collecting jerseys after games.
“It was so great to see the Raleigh lacrosse community embrace and support that first Shootout For Soldiers Raleigh event,” said Troper. “The energy level of the players, coaches, referees, spectators, and veterans was over the top.”
Whether it was the Raleigh Lacrosse Club and Carolina Heat teaming up to play two coed games during the hour, splitting into four teams or a coed coaches game where North Carolina area coaches teamed up and put the pads on for a return to the glory days. One of the best parts of a Shootout for Soldiers event is seeing the creativity in dual slot games and Raleigh definitely didn’t disappoint.
As the sun began to set and the closing ceremonies began, the teams met inside the stadium at Cardinal Gibbons to present the check to our charity partners. Military Missions in Action, the local charity partner in 2018, works to set the standard of support for our veterans, members of the armed forces and their families by engaging neighbors, business and organizations. Through programs like “Operation Building Hope” and “Homes for Healing”, MMIA looks to aid veterans in independent living and morale support.
“The event was huge for the NC Lacrosse community as a whole not just Raleigh,” said Raleigh event organizer and Army veteran Michael Smith. “It showed that NC Lax truly supports our men and women in uniform past and present.”
Throughout the event, over 550 people took the field for our vets. Over 3,500 attendees circulated through on June 3rd. Before the event, SFS Raleigh had raised just over $30,000. By the end of the 12 hours, we wrote a check for $35,820 to our charity partners.