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By: RJ Kaminski

Shootout for Soldiers Baltimore battled through the elements, showcased a number of incredible moments, and surpassed seven figures for total dollars fundraised in the non-profit’s five-year history.

All of the story lines leading up to Wednesday and Thursday unfolded before thousands at St. Paul’s School in Brooklandville, MD. The first story line unfolded halfway through the Veterans game to kick off the 24-hours in stirring fashion.

Captain Benjamin Harrow walked out onto the field to play goalie, and more importantly, play lacrosse alongside his best friend, Erik Mineo, for the first time since playing together at West Point.

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“The SFS Baltimore lacrosse game marked a very special day for me.  I was able to play lax with my brother again,” said CPT. Mineo.

The moment completely overshadowed the two top NCAA lacrosse coaches facing off against one another on the sidelines. Maryland lacrosse’s John Tillman and Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen even rushed over to take photographs with Harrow and Mineo right as the game finally commenced.

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“Ben (former middie) and I (former face-off specialist) both took the field in positions we never played previously. But for this game, the only thing that mattered was that we both walked onto and off of the field of friendly strife, together, with our respective families supporting us from the sidelines. That’s a once in a lifetime moment for me,” Mineo said.

A moment Mineo has waited on for some time.

Our national and local charity beneficiaries set up shop under one huge tent, interacting with young players, parents and Veterans through both days.

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“The Semper Fi Fund, and more importantly, our wounded, ill, and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces are honored to have the continued support of Shootout for Soldiers. Thank you Baltimore for your tremendous support!” said Susan Wortman, a volunteer for Semper Fi Fund.

The Baltimore Station, a local charity assisting homeless Veterans and receiving 10% of the $112,000+ raised, made the most out of the 24 hours. Lou Kousouris, a member on The Baltimore Station’s Board even played in the Veterans game!

“Thank you to everyone who showed up and supported this amazing event,” said their spokesperson on social media. “Big thanks to the teams, the organizers, and all the volunteers as well.”

As the wee hours of the night set in, local lacrosse influencers filed in to play. Greg Kenneally of East Coast Dyes, Towson’s Shawn Nadelen and the famous “Rufferee” brought their game to the fields. Charlie “The Rufferee” declined to comment during the event, but we assume she was tired from chasing down so many late-night lacrosse balls.

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The morning rain and thunderstorms appeared to take their toll on volunteers who had been working since setting up the event Wednesday afternoon. But you know what provided them a jolt and some extra enthusiasm? A 17-year-old named Joe Boozer.

Jerseys are normally collected after each hour as players filter off the field. Though, Boozer caused a little confusion after coming off the turf once his seventh game commenced.

“I’m playing in all 24 games,” he said.

“Wait, what?”

Yes, Boozer set out to play in every single hour. The Veterans encouraged him to play in the opening game, as a right of passage before the recent high school graduate heads off to Annapolis to attend the Naval Academy next week. His father, a Veteran himself, stayed to see his son play in a number of the 24 games.

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Boozer also volunteered with the Parkville Adaptive Lacrosse team, which took the spotlight at 8 AM. Smiles flooded the field, the sidelines and the stands as Marty Delaney and his adaptive program ran up and down the field, netting goals left and right.

“This is incredible,” Delaney said through a smile, trotting up and down the turf.

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The sight of parents walking off the field and getting into their cars with their children sporting ear-to-ear grins rivaled every other moment that transpired at St. Paul’s School. It’s no surprise that Parkville Adaptive made it into the “Top 5 Moments” list!

News crews lined the parking lot early, getting their standups and interviews in before the expected rain came down.  Hours later, cameras flashed and phones recorded the final check presentation at mid-field as Tyler Steinhardt and the Shootout for Soldiers team presented a check to its national and local charities for $112,950, accumulating a $1,000,000+ total fundraised in the non-profit’s history.

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