On Saturday, May 18th, the Old Goats and the Loews Good Neighbors hosted their annual wheelchair-basketball and barbecue event at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort to raise funds for Warrior Foundation – Freedom Station.
The day was particularly special this year as it fell on Armed Forces Day. Each year, Ben Hallowell, coordinator for the Old Goats, works to identify a beneficiary group for the event. Past benefactors have included the Travis Manion Foundation and the C4 Foundation (in memory of Charles Humphrey Keating IV).
Kids Who Care
Kicking off Saturday’s event were Kids Who Care. It was a group effort as Jack spoke to the crowd first, followed by Kennedy leading The Pledge of Allegiance. After that Madison led singing God Bless America and all of the Kids Who Care performed the song in sign language. Next, the kids introduced players of all three basketball teams. Members of Wolf Pack took the time to high five the crowd as the kids introduced them by name and shared information about their branch of service. Ben describes how important the Kids Who Care component is by saying, “They are very much a part of what we do.” He elaborates that the program teaches them at a young age how to interact with others and give back to community.
Despite the many rain showers seen recently, the sun came out for this incredible event. In Game One, Wolf Pack took on the hosts, Loews Good Neighbors. In Game Two, Wolf Pack took on Coronado. Each game was comprised of two, 7.5 minute halves. Council Member Bill Sandke announced the games. Former Mayor Casey Tanaka refereed both games as well (in traditional flip flop footwear).
Game One: Wolf Pack vs. Loews Good Neighbors
The Good Neighbors practiced in advance for this event and it showed. The first half landed Wolf Pack ahead 6-2, but by the end Good Neighbors had closed the gap with Sean Clancy, Loews Managing Director, making two shots from the free throw line. Final score was 13-11, Wolf Pack. Sandke as announcer took the opportunity to ask Wolf Packer Anthony what it was like out there on the court. Anthony responded with a laugh, “They’re terrible!” Mayor Tanaka offered his thoughts that Loews Good Neighbors were, “the best non wolf pack team.” You can draw your own conclusions about what that meant for the next game!
Game Two: Wolf Pack vs. Coronado
Before Coronado begins their game, Wolf Pack teammate Salazar spends some time giving them helpful tips. With far less practice than the Loews team, Coronado shouldn’t plan to fair any better, but with the Wolf Pack playing back to back games, it may give Coronado that edge they so desperately need.
Mayor Bailey scored first in the game putting Coronado at an early lead and by the end of the first half they were up by one. Whether this was due to skill alone or that the “lead is manufactured by the wonderful Coronado ref,” as Sandke may have mentioned is a secret between the players and the crowd. Unfortunately for Coronado, but not entirely unexpected, Anthony Pone swooped in for the final point. This upset the current tie in the last minute and led to the Wolf Pack victory of 17-15.
A fun game for players, spectators, and Loews vacationers leaning over the rails to watch, led to another successful event! Aside from just a good time, former Mayor Tanaka shares what the experience was for him, “Seeing the Wolf Pack – they are so agile and know how to move. They are such terrific sports and take a lot of teaching opportunities.”
Foundation Freedom Station
Funds from the event are donated this year to Foundation Freedom Station. At a suggested $25 donation per ticket for a Loews barbecue and opportunity for courtside seating at the game, funds raised will be donated to a great cause.
According to their website:
Foundation Freedom Station in San Diego aims to be the leading force in assisting, honoring and supporting the military men and women who have so bravely sacrificed of themselves for our country. We are committed to supporting our warriors in a variety of ways including providing quality-of-life items, support services and transitional housing designed to assist them and their families during both recovery and transition processes. The Warrior Foundation Freedom Station in San Diego assists four main groups of warriors:
- The seriously injured just returning home from war
- Those undergoing physical or occupational therapy
- Those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury
- Warriors who have been medically retired and remain in our community
To serve this last group in particular, we are proud to have pioneered a new, inclusive approach called “Freedom Station.” Freedom Station is a unique, recovery-focused transition center and housing facility that provides injured warriors with acclimation time, guidance and resources to successfully make the transition from military service to civilian life.