2018 Sticks for Soldiers Tournament 
Vince Howard, Rich Bobrow, Mike Bacon, David Pretlove, Ralph Baldelli
For the past 13 years, the Western Connecticut Lacrosse Officials Association has supported the Annual Sticks for Soldiers Thanksgiving Lacrosse Tournament. All participating WCLOA Officials donate their time to the Tournament .

The annual “Sticks for Soldiers” nonprofit charity lacrosse tournament was held on November 26, 2017 to provide support and to give thanks to severely injured servicemen and women, while simultaneously raising awareness among area high school athletes of the sacrifices being made  by soldiers, not much older than they are. 

Each participating athlete (approximately 900 strong) in teams from more than 60 area high schools demonstrated tangible support and thanks through participation in the 7 V 7 tournament format as well as in their individual fundraising commitments.

This 501(c)(3) nonprofit tournament was created by Southport resident, former college player and lifelong lacrosse enthusiast Michael Voucas, with support from Fairfield Ludlowe High School’s Head Lacrosse Coach Chris Parisi and a team of dedicated volunteers.  The tournament, which began in 2006 with eight teams and a vision, is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year, and is sponsored and hosted by the Fairfield Ludlowe High School Lacrosse Program, in an effort to provide spiritual as well as monetary support to retired servicemen/women who have put their lives on the line and have sacrificed for our Country.

Tournament games began at 9 a.m. Saturday, breaking for a mid-day ceremony at Ludlowe’s Taft Stadium which boasted hundreds of student athletes, event leaders, two honorees and their families, a military honor guard, keynote speaker and more. Funds were raised through team entry fees, private donations, player’s donations, raffles, sponsors, emblematic apparel and a silent auction.

“Giving thanks, providing support, raising awareness ... what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving, in the month of Veterans Day, but to honor the men and women who have served for us by supporting these fine men for their personal sacrifices,” said Jim Tommins, President of Sticks for Soldiers and Event Chair. “Less than 1 percent of Americans serve and defend our freedom. Getting the high school players involved doing something they love doing, while helping others and gaining understanding of their service, is a win-win. We are blessed and are fortunate, as are our children, so let’s help where we can.”