Sticks for Soldiers Lacrosse Classic
Sticks for Soldiers is a charity lacrosse tournament held in Fairfield, Connecticut to raise money for wounded troops. The mission of this tournament is to provide support and give thanks to the service men and women who put their lives on the line and sacrificed for our country, while creating an awareness among high school athletes to the unseen sacrifices being made on their behalf by people just a few years older than themselves. Through their play and fund-raising participation, the athletes can demonstrate their tangible thanks and support.
Over $575,000 raised since 2006
Begun in 2006 with just 6 teams, the idea came from long-time lacrosse player, coach and youth advocate Mike Voucas. Supported by Fairfield Ludlowe Head Coach Chris Parisi and a number of dedicated volunteers, the tournament has raised $575,000 in 10 years. Held always on Thanksgiving Saturday, it is now an anticipated regional fall-ball competition. Early years' saw the tournament lend its financial support to other noted organizations like baseball player Barry Zito's "Strikeouts For Troops" and the Wounder Warrior Project.
In 2010, the 5th year, a single beneficialry was named for the very first time. Mike Voucas saw the compelling story of Army Specialist Brendan Marrocco, the mid-east conflicts first surviving quadruple amputee, on a TV news program and immediately saw this as an opportunity to help and honor his service and sacrifice. Over $60,000 was raised – more than all the other years combined. The funds raised were donated entirely toward the construction of a wheelchair accessible home for Brendan, of nearby Staten Island NY (see Brendan’s story on our page dedicated to Brendan).
The tournament includes Varsity and sub-varsity teams from Tri-State area high schools. They participate in a 7-on-7 tournament game format and each team plays at least 3 games. Team entry fees, T-shirt sales, silent auction, sponsors, raffles and private donations will be donated to this year's cause.
In 2011, recognizing the 10th anniversary of 9/11, nearly 40 teams were entered in the tournament and for the first time, it includes a girls lacrosse division. Jim Tommins took over the reins as lead organizer and tourament chairman from Mike Voucas. Mike was recognized for his volunteer effort starting the tournament and was named the Man of the Year by the Connecticut High School Lacrossee Coaches Association. The tournament had a mid-day ceremony to honor the beneficiaries. The date was Saturday, November 26th at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.
The 2011 efforts supported 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.
In mid-year 2011, Sgt. Dwyer (30) and Pfc. Budd (19) were injured in separate IED explosions within Afghanistan. Each soldier lost his left leg and received injuries to 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. Read more about these fine men on the 2011 Honorees page
The 2012 tournament was held on November 24, 2012 and a record 46 teams of boys and girls raised over $65,000 to honor and support US Army Captain Gregory Galeazzi originally from Glastonbury CT, and USMC Sgt ( Ret) Greg Caron of Ellington, CT. Both soldiers experienced bi-lateral leg amputations as the result of IED injuries in Afghanistan in 2011.
We are making a difference, and you can help
Please see the donation address on the home page or contact us for more information.