Women’s Volleyball Helping Area Military
October 23, 2012
By John Boccacino/Sports Information Director
Green has always been one of the two primary colors of any Keuka College athletics team, and while the women’s volleyball squad will still don green for Saturday’s regular-season finale against Morrisville State, the Storm will be playing for more than just themselves when they take the court at 1 p.m.
Keuka (21-7, 9-2 North Eastern Athletic Conference) has joined forces with Operation First Response, a national organization that offers assistance to veterans and their families. The Storm will wear special green camouflage jerseys that will be sold after the match, with all proceeds helping a local military family struggling to make ends meet.
The members of the Storm are also selling camouflage “KC Supports our Troops” drawstring bags for $7 apiece, with all of those proceeds also benefitting Operation First Response.
The team has set a goal of raising between $600 and $1,000 for Operation First Response, and while the target may be set high, junior Rachel Parker (Chaumont, NY/Thousand Islands) believes both her team and the community can help the Storm reach their goal.
“When we were talking about which fundraisers we would get involved in, we wanted to do something for a group that doesn’t get as much attention as it should, so we said let’s do something for the soldiers,” said Parker, a setter for the team.
“We wanted to do something more personalized that would have a big local impact, and we found Operation First Response. It’s important for the money to stay local, to stay here so we can see it put into effect helping out these soldiers and their families. It’s great that we can help these soldiers out.”
Sophomore Danielle Alred (Horseheads, NY/Horseheads) is one of several members of the women’s volleyball team with military connections. Her grandfather, who recently passed away, served in the Army in Europe during World War II and earned a purple heart for his valor during the war.
Having a personal connection to the military definitely amplified the project’s importance, said Alred, who is confident the team can exceed its fundraising goals.
“This project definitely hit home for me. When I think about the troops and the sacrifices they make for our country, I think of my grandpa and what he gave to this country,” said Alred, a middle hitter for the Storm.
“I look at all the other military families and how hard it is for them, dealing with having loved ones serving our country, and how hard it was for my grandma and my mom with my grandpa gone overseas. The community can count on us as student-athletes to give back. It’s important to show that we can do something like this and help out the military community.”
Two hundred of the “KC Supports our Troops” backpacks were ordered. Anyone interested in purchasing one of these backpacks to support Keuka’s efforts with Operation First Response can buy one from one of the student-athletes on the team. Everyone who purchases a drawstring bag will also receive a free Hershey’s ice cream bar courtesy of Hershey’s, which is sponsoring Keuka’s charitable activity.
If any unsold backpacks remain heading into the weekend, they can also be purchased outside the gymnasium inside the Weed Physical Arts Center during Saturday’s match with Morrisville State.
“Our coach (Ben Guiliano) told us how the Operation First Response people were overwhelmed when they heard what we wanted to do for them,” said junior Deliane Lessard (Rochester, NY/Genesee Community College), a middle/outside hitter for the Storm.
“We all know how much of an impact we can make through this effort. This shows how much effort we as student-athletes put into helping out the community, and how much we care about the community we live in, especially military families that could really use this help. We’re all doing our part to help people in need.”
For more information on Operation First Response, including ways to assist area military families, be sure to visit www.OperationFirstResponse.org.
As part of the Storm’s recent “Count on Me” Campaign, Keuka’s student-athletes are also invited to participate in a Green Out during Saturday’s Parents’ Day game.
All student-athletes are asked to wear their green “Count on Me” t-shirts to the contest as a sign of solidarity among the 16 intercollegiate sports teams on campus.
The Green and Gold return to action with a non-conference match at Alfred University at 7 p.m. Wednesday night before hosting Morrisville.