DRAPER – Juan Diego Boys Lacrosse has given a big assist to an organization that helps military veterans with post traumatic stress. And the team will do it again at the state semi-finals next month.
Head Coach John Holmes and team captains Bo Long, Jack Maddox and Austin Roberts presented a $1,000 check April 7 to Continue Mission, a non-profit group that provides recreational, educational and social activities to help veterans recover.
The donation resulted from the Warrior2Warrior Project, created by the boys lacrosse team and the JDCHS Patriot Club, in which proceeds from raffles and a percentage of all gate admissions from hosting the lacrosse semi-finals are collected to aid veterans.
It is the second time Juan Diego has run the fundraiser, and 2015 will be a three-peat when JDCHS hosts the league’s B and C division semis May 12-14.
“We owe very much to those brave men and women who went off to fight for our freedom, often sacrificing so much,’’ said Maddox. “It is a tremendous honor to be working with and supporting them.”
The first Warrior2Warrior project in 2012 raised money for a Utah Army National Guard serviceman with medical needs and a Marine who needed a service dog.
This year, the team will again help Continue Mission, which co-founder Josh Hansen describes as “a new program with a big heart and big goals of leaving no veteran behind.”
Hansen, a retired Army sergeant who served two tours in Iraq and was wounded, founded the group after battling post-deployment stress himself and experiencing the suicides of four soldiers in his company after their return home.
Continue Mission serves as a support system for veterans while also providing them opportunities to achieve wellness through exercise and activities such as skiing, cycling, hiking and other outdoor sports.
“What a patriotic team!” Hansen said. “Thank you for believing in us and recognizing the importance of our mission.”
Coach Holmes, a former submarine officer in the U.S. Navy and naval reservist, strongly supported the student effort and the cause.
“JD Boys Lacrosse established the Warrior2Warrior project several years ago in an effort to support and recognize our veterans,” he said. “The Continue Mission program is local to Utah and directly supports the Utah vets, which makes providing support that much more meaningful to the lacrosse team.”
Sgt. Hansen said Juan Diego’s help would allow the organization to expand and help more veterans in need. In addition to its recreational focus, CM has a suicide prevention and awareness mission to assist struggling veterans.
“I’m extremely proud to give back to our troops,” said co-captain Roberts. “It’s an honor to help them and to be able to do something positive for those having a hard time returning to their regular lives.”
Long said he wished they could give even more. “And we will this year. It’s incredible to be able to do this for people who have given so much and sacrificed so much for our country.”
Both the 2012 and 2014 events drew the support and participation of multiple lacrosse organizations or businesses, including Westminster College Men’s Lacrosse, Blackhawks Lacrosse, NRG Lacrosse, Repetition Lacrosse and Tribal West Lacrosse Store and the U.S. Marine Corps recruiting station in Sandy.
The 2015 Warrior2Warrior Project will run at the UHSLL boys Class B and Class C semi-finals May 12 and May 14 at Juan Diego Catholic High School, with game times at 5 pm and 7 pm both days.
Individuals or organizations wishing to participate in the project can contact organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continue Mission: https://www.continuemission.org