Fairfield, CT – The Fairfield Ludlowe High School lacrosse team and the local lacrosse community will host the 6th annual Sticks for Soldiers Thanksgiving Charity Lacrosse Tournament on Saturday November 26th at the Fairfield Ludlowe High School Campus.
This year’s efforts will support three severely-injured servicemen: USMC Sgt. Liam Dwyer of Litchfield, Connecticut; Army Pfc. Josh Budd of Cheshire, Connecticut; and USAF Tech Sgt. Joe Wilkinson of Troy, New York. They each suffered injuries in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan or Operation Iraqi Freedom.
This past spring, both Sgt. Dwyer (30) and Pfc. Budd (19) were injured in separate IED explosions within Afghanistan. Both soldiers lost their left leg and suffered major damage to the other limbs, along with extensive soft tissue damage from the shrapnel. They are both being treated with additional surgeries, rehab and prosthetic therapy at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.
Veteran Tech Sgt. Wilkinson (32) has progressive leg paralysis and strength loss as the result of a compromised spinal cord with an unclear diagnosis or cause. He served in the USAF Security forces for 12 years from 1997 to 2009. Since returning in 2006, he has endured 2 spinal surgeries and many months of therapy and rehab at Walter Reed and the VA Hospitals in Albany and Syracuse. He is mostly confined to a wheelchair, and struggling to support his wife and 3 young children in a house needing improved accessibility.
Mike Voucas, the Founder and Jim Tommins, the tournament chairman agree, “Fairfield Ludlowe Lacrosse is once again proud to host the Sticks for Soldiers event this Thanksgiving weekend. As we mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, showing our appreciation and raising awareness of the sacrifices made by our service men and women, is especially focused. We are also grateful for the outpouring of support from the teams and all the donors and sponsors. We encourage all players and teams to add to the fundraising efforts and help us to help these three fine young men. Last year saw our 5- year effort exceed $105,000, and we were able to help our 2010 honoree Brendan Marrocco move into a completely accessible home. Brendan helped us to identify this years’ recipients.”
Varsity teams from area high schools will participate in a 7-on-7 tournament game format. More than 30 teams are expected this year with more than 450 athletes involved. Participating schools include host Fairfield Ludlowe, Fairfield Prep, Fairfield Warde, Ridgefield, Weston, Brien McMahon, Hopkins, Amity, Hamden, Westhill, Newtown, Guilford, Hall- West Hartford, Stamford and Norwalk. Team entry fees, raffles, and silent auction proceeds will be shared with each soldier for several needs like adaptive housing, transportation, care-giver expenses, and visitation travel. The tournament opening will start at 9:00 am and each team should play at least 3 games. A mid-day ceremony will recognize the honorees.
Donations may be sent to Tom Mason, Treasurer, payable to “Sticks for Soldiers”, 134 Old Orchard Park, Fairfield CT 06824. For updated tournament information, schedules, location and history, please see www.sticksforsoldiers.org and Facebook.