Rapids to honor military in regular season finale

CWS Sports Desk

October 12, 2017

Wisconsin Rapids– For the past six years, the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School football team has designated the last home game of the year a community game, where the players raise money for a specific cause.

The first three years featured a “pink” game where proceeds totaling over $25,000 were donated to the local UW-Cancer Center.

For the past three years, the team has held a “Raiders Salute” game, donating proceeds to the “Never Forgotten Honor Flight” and to wreaths for the Kings Cemetery.

The football team has donated just under $10,000 to the aforementioned organizations.

The players sell t-shirts to raise the money, and many players have visited the Hero’s Café to have doughnuts with veterans, and donations are accepted at the game.

The “Raiders Salute” game will be played on Friday, October 13, 2017 against D.C. Everest at South Wood County Field in Wisconsin Rapids in the regular season finale.

Long before negativity, conflict and distrust took over dominating the news cycle, the Wisconsin Rapids football team has been reaching out to the others and thinking about how they can help others.

Rapids’ football player Chasten Vruwink summed up the team’s motivation for continuing to support the military.

“As a team we believe it is important that we honor those who protect us from any outside threats and dangers because they give their lives for our freedom,” said Vruwink. “The military does a great job protecting us, the least we can do for them is have a game honoring them.”

The Raiders Salute t-shirts have three paint stripes to honor police officers, fire fighters and military veterans.

For all games in 2017, the players have come onto the field waving the American flag.

For this year’s “Raider Salute” game, the team received a donation from Hughes Ford in Milladore to purchase flags from all the branches of the military. The team will take the field with these flags on Friday night.

The night will also include special appearances:

  • The National Guard will bring the cannon and fire a round for each score
  • Army members  and Veterans will be making the tunnel for the players to enter.   This is very emotional for both the players and the veterans
  • The Spirit Helicopter will be doing a fly over before the game after the National Anthem (Weather permitting)
  • Colors will be presented by the American Legion Riders District 8, Vietnam Veterans Chapter 101, VFW Post 2534

For the members of Wisconsin Rapids football, the idea of supporting men and women in uniform is more than just lip service, and the lessons they have learned while participating in the Raiders Salute effort go far beyond the playing field.

Additionally, the outpouring of support from the community has been significant.

“For the past couple of years when we ran the game the community has fully been behind our efforts for the military game,” said Vruwink. “Every year people are prepared for our late season t-shirt sales we do for the military game and end up buying shirts and then donating a few extra dollars while they are at it. They love and appreciate what we do as a team. Many community members believe this skill coach Biolo shows us is a life lesson in learning to give to those who give for us.”

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