FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Two U.S. Army soldiers who were severely wounded in Afghanistan will be the honorees and beneficiaries for this year's eighth annual Sticks For Soldiers Thanksgiving Charity Lacrosse Tournament at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.
U.S. Army Capt. Benjamin Harrow sustained life-changing injuries in May 2012, and U.S. Army Specialist Sean Pesce was injured in October 2012.
Sticks for Soldiers is a nonprofit charity dedicated to raising money to support future needs of severely wounded soldiers and promoting youth awareness of their service through the tournament. It is organized and hosted by volunteers of the school's lacrosse team.
Held every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it is the players who give thanks to these servicemen and women. More than 850 high school athletes, representing more than 58 teams, will participate in the event.
Team entry fees and other fundraising activities, including private donations and a silent auction, contribute to the charity's support.
Harrow, 32, is a 2005 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was a four-year letterman with Army lacrosse.
During his second tour in Afghanistan in May 2012, he stepped on a mine while leading a foot patrol that resulted in amputation of both of his legs above the knee. He has earned three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.
Pesce, 21, is a 2011 graduate of West Haven High School. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and completed the rigorous Ranger training for the Army's elite mobile force.
On Oct. 12, 2012, while clearing buildings, he was shot 13 times in a close-range fire-fight with Afghan insurgents that killed his sergeant. He received a Purple Heart for his combat injuries and was awarded a Bronze Star.
“Holding this tournament is the least we can do for brave soldiers like Captain Harrow and Specialist Pesce. These guys have sacrificed so much defending our freedom, and face significant challenges in their future," said Jim Tommins, chairman of the tournament in a release.
“In the first seven years, we have directly helped 6 severely injured soldiers to enhance their lives by raising over $225,000 since the tournament began."
Donations may also be sent, payable to Sticks for Soldiers Inc., PO Box 475, Fairfield, CT 06824. For more information, honoree profiles, tournament schedules, location and history, visit the website .
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