ELKRIDGE, Md. - Lacrosse. Around the clock. For charity. For non-profits helping veterans and their families.
This is the Shootout for Soldiers.
“It’s an amazing community based event that uses the platform and vehicle of lacrosse to bring our nation’s veterans, our local community, local charities, everyone out to enjoy 24 hours of an unprecedented type of event,” said Erik Mineo, who is in the Army Reserves.
The games started at 7 p.m. Tuesday and run through 7 p.m. Wednesday. Over 70 teams are participating. Each had to raise a minimum of $750 to go toward organizations that work with vets.
It was special night for Ben Harrow, who lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan.
“15 May 2012, I was walking on a patrol, stepped directly on a pressure plate I.E.D. It took my right leg clean off and my left leg was so badly broken they had to cut that also,” said Harrow, who was in the Army Special Forces.
Since that day Ben has played lacrosse twice. He played in last year’s Shootout and this year’s.
“Three years ago I was one of the guys that these funds went to help. I’m glad that now that I’m up and literally waking around again, I’m able to do the same for guys that are still struggling and future service members that end up getting banged up and coming home,” added Harrow.
The opening matchup of the marathon event was a friendly game between teams made up of veterans and active military. They were coached by some of the best college lacrosse has to offer. Terps coach John Tillman was on one side. And Towson’s Shawn Nadelen was on the other.
“It’s an honor to be out here, to be amongst these veterans and military personnel that love the sport and are passionate about the game of lacrosse,” said Nadelen.
“There’s a strong sense of patriotism. I think a strong sense of appreciation for what people do for us,” said Tillman.
At the start of the games on Tuesday night almost $200,000 had been raised. Since this event got started five years ago, it’s raised over $1.5 million.