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Hoops 4 Heroes game to benefit soldiers

Ticket sales to raise funds for local AUSA chapter

This year’s Hoops 4 Heroes competition promises to be intense as local first responders attempt to hold on to the trophy and JBLM soldiers fight to bring it home. Photo credit: DuPont/Steilacoom Subchapter of AUSA

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February has arrived. That means that March is right around the corner, and with the arrival of the windy month, all thoughts turn to ... basketball, of course! There's March Madness, there's the WIAA High School Championships and there's Hoops 4 Heroes.

Put on by the DuPont/Steilacoom Subchapter of the Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA); the 6th Criminal Investigation Command; the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), known as the Night Stalkers; and the Army National Guard, the third annual Hoops 4 Heroes competition will pit Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers against local first responders to raise funds for the DuPont/Steilacoom Subchapter.

The competition takes place March 8 at 6 p.m. in the gymnasium of the Pierce College Health Education Building, which will be filled with the sounds of cheering fans as police, firefighters and EMTs fight to hang on to the Hoops 4 Heroes trophy -- and the soldiers of JBLM fight to get it back.

"With the teams each having a win under their belt, this should be an intense event," said Karen Getchell, the subchapter's community liaison.  "The first responders will be bringing the trophy back with them, but who knows who will take it home?"

This game promises to be extra special as it will be the farewell game for Master Sgt. William Gerald (Jerry) Clardy, coach of the JBLM Soldiers, who will retire later this year. Even more special, the first and third quarter tip-off balls will be tossed by a Gold Star youth and the child of a fallen officer, respectively.

"It's not only to honor their parents' service," Getchell said, "but to keep in mind what these men and women do for us on a daily basis."

Even the halftime show promises to be memorable.

"Some soldiers and first responders (non-players) will be participating in this year's halftime show," Getchell said. "If (readers are) not into basketball, they may just want to come for this!"

Hoops 4 Heroes was started in 2016 by Baron Coleman, who modeled it after his very successful Teachers vs. Cops fundraisers. Admission is by donation, and all proceeds will go to benefit programs sponsored by the local chapter of the AUSA that support active-duty soldiers, retirees and their families.

The college concession stand will also be open, with snacks and beverages to keep fans well fed and hydrated.  Along with the game, more than 40 gift baskets will be raffled off, and a flat screen TV will be given away.

Corporate sponsors of this year's game include America's Credit Union, LeMay Pierce County Refuse, Community First Credit Union, Farrelli's Pizza, Patriot's Landing, Cal Portland, Puget Sound Window and Door, Veteran's Lending Group, John L. Scott Real Estate, and McNamara's Pub and Eatery.

Hoops 4 Heroes, 6 p.m., Thursday, March 8, Pierce College Ft. Steilacoom, 9401 Farwest Dr. SW, Lakewood, admission by donation, 253.343.4868

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