Sticks for Soldiers: Connecticut lacrosse players raise thousands of dollars for wounded veterans

For the last 16 years, lacrosse players around Connecticut have been thanking wounded United States veterans for their service.
This year, more than 350 student-athletes from 24 different Connecticut high schools are playing in the Sticks for Soldiers Thanksgiving Lacrosse Classic at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.
"The whole point of the tournament is to really connect people who don't serve to the men and women that are serving," says Bob Vitale, president of the organization.
The day’s events raised for severely wounded soldiers and promoted youth awareness of military service.
"Not only raising money and raising awareness for the service and sacrifices being made on their behalf...but they are seeing a person they are raising money for," says Vitale.
The organization honored retired United States Marine SSG Brandon Laird this year with the money raised. He was injured during his service in the Middle East.
"Brandon's service led him down a path coupled with PTSD and depression where he looked to take his own life," says Vitale.
SSG Laird's message to players this year: "I know you guys are young kids going through a lot...a lot happens," he says. "Make sure that if you're going through a struggle or if there's something you need...reach out to someone."
Through the years, Sticks for Soldiers has raised over $1,000,000 through team entry fees, silent auctions, merchandise, and corporate and private donations for wounded soldiers and their families.