LEWIS CENTER, Ohio (WCMH) — A shootout is being held to honor the nation’s veterans. But this shootout doesn’t involve firearms or weapons of any kind — it involves lacrosse sticks.
The annual Shootout for Soldiers is a 24-hour lacrosse event that raises money for various veterans’ charities.
The Columbus area is one of 12 cities hosting the national event.
“They’ve done a lot for this country,” said Samuel Scott.
So when it comes to veterans, Scott and the other plays want to give back.
Chloe King comes from a military family.
“My grandpa was in the military,” she said. “My mom was in the military and my aunt was in the military.”
And the list goes on and on.
At the annual Shootout for Soldiers event, being held at Olentangy Orange High School, more than 5,000 people sit in the stands to watch players hit the field.
One of those taking part, Jeremy Hirata, is a veteran himself.
“I have a 3 a.m., a 5 a.m.,” he said.
The 32-year-old knows the challenges a veteran goes through.
“The adjustments,” Hirata said. “Being a veteran, all I knew for nine years, was I knew my brothers left and right of me and I knew deployment. Coming back, you have to integrate yourself with normal society.”
Organizers said the event has raised more than $70,000 so far, all of which will go toward veterans’ charitable organization.
In addition to raising money, the event also gives veterans an opportunity to make new friends.
“These veterans have never played together, so putting them all on the field was an emotional, amazing, and a great experience,” said Merry Troper, executive director for Shootout for Soldiers.
But for many of the players on the field, words can’t describe the feeling they have knowing they’re giving back.
King had a message for every veteran watching the event.
“Thank you for everything that you’ve done for this country,” she said. “We appreciate it so much and thank you.”
In addition to fundraising, the event is also good for awareness.
“It lets the community know there are veterans in the area,” Hirata said. “With society these days and all the politics going on, we sometimes forget that there is a community that still want us here and appreciates us.”
The event will continue through the night until 10 a.m. Sunday.
If you’re interested, members of the public can play in the event, and if you don’t have equipment, it will be provided to you.