By: RJ Kaminski
Clamor of chatter, cheers and laughs resonated through the aluminum bleachers looking out onto the bottom turf field at Troy Park in Elkridge. While family and friends settled into their seats, Veterans and active duty military took to the field to warm up for the sixth annual Veterans game at Shootout for Soldiers Baltimore.
For news reporters on the field, it may have been difficult to find a story headline with so many right before their eyes on the turf. Was it University of Maryland Coach John Tillman squaring off against Towson’s Shawn Nadelen as coaches during the Vets hour?
Was it Ben Harrow playing lacrosse for just the second time since losing both legs after stepping on a pressure plate five years back?
Was it the Black Hawk helicopter sitting on the field adjacent to the Veterans game waiting for the final whistle blow to take off?
Or was it simply the shear amount of Veterans and current military on the field at the same time exchanging laughs and stories for the sixth year in a row at SFS Baltimore?
So many incredible instances occurring at once is what helped make 2017’s SFS Baltimore the most memorable event in its growing history.
“Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund was proud to be part of yet another tremendously successful Shootout for Soldiers,” said Celia Rosee of the Ranger Lead the Way Fund. “We appreciate all the support we received from the Baltimore community.”
Rosee wasn’t the only charity representative thrilled with the success of SFS Baltimore. National non-profits receiving funds from SFS as well as local non-profits, The Baltimore Station and Catch a Lift Fund, spent the event’s entirety giving away prizes and interacting with participants and spectators alike.
Baltimore Station’s Director of Development and Communication, Kim Callari, of the Baltimore station expressed her satisfaction with this year’s event and also outlined her non-profit’s plan to spend the money raised at SFS Baltimore.
“We are amazed with the dedication and ability of Tyler Steinhardt and his team to continually ramp up the success of Shootout for Soldiers,” Callari said. “Our partnership with SFS and all of the teams that come together for the betterment of our veterans inspires our staff, the veterans we serve and me throughout the year.”
How will The Baltimore Station spend their $20,000+ fundraised at SFS Baltimore?
“The stellar amount raised this year will allow us to provide a state of the art security camera system and key card system to ensure the safety of our veterans while residing with us,” Callari said.
Though all of that fundraising wouldn’t be possible without a few teams and programs in specific.
One man in particular played all 24 hours of the event. He’s done it before at Shootout for Soldiers and his name is Chris McGovern. One program in particular, Cavalier lacrosse, brought out six teams to participate. One team in particular, Army of Darkness, broke one of the most lofty team fundriasing goals in SFS history, $25,000.
McGovern, Cavalier lacrosse and Army of Darkness, collectively raised more than $80,000 at Shootout for Soldiers Baltimore!
Teams and individuals like the ones above make SFS Baltimore unique as they embody the true meaning of our mission. They bring out their teams to engage with Veterans and community members the day of the event while also fundraising incredible amounts of money, which amplifies the efforts of our charity partners.
Volunteers who have never been to SFS Baltimore made note that teams like the ones mentioned above played a role in motivating them to stay awake during the entire event.
“This years Shootout for Soldiers Baltimore was the first time I have ever been to the event in Baltimore,” said Alex Sullivan, SFS Technical Operations Manager. “Volunteering for the entire 24 hours was a great experience. It was incredible being able to meet all the great teams that really make the event special.”
Both at the local community level as well as the national level, Shootout for Soldiers Baltimore generated incredible waves of support in 2017.
“We cannot thank the participating teams, supporters and Shootout for Soldiers staff enough for all that they do to assist our veterans in getting back on their feet,” said Kim Callari.
Let the planning for 2018 begin!