The “7th Grade Elite Full Package” basketball team is raising funds to support wounded soldiers in response to the White House’s “Joining Forces” initiative.
The team, comprised of girls from the North and Northwest suburbs of Chicago and southern Wisconsin—including Arlington Heights— is seeking pledges per point scored in both their regular April through June season and at the AAU National Championships from July 10 through 15 in Clarksville, Tennessee, home of Ft. Campbell Army Base.
The pledged monies will be presented to Fort Campbell’s Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) to support more than 540 wounded warriors and their families, following the girls’ wheelchair basketball game with the soldiers. During the presentation, the girls will unfurl a huge “Pledge Wall” paper scroll with the names of all contributors.
“Hoops for Heroes is a way to say thanks to all the soldiers who risk it all for us and our freedom. We want to show them that we think about them and never take them for granted,” says Maddie Welter of Arlington Heights, IL.
According to Army Surgeon Rochelle Wasserman, Fort Campbell is home to the 101st Airborne Division, which is just finishing a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. “The Fort’s WTU has just increased its capacity as the violence has evacuated many troops early for treatment. The WTU is currently flooded with our injured heroes. Since this deployment to Afghanistan has occurred, we’re seeing (them) double what they have been in the past.”
“At this time of national budget cuts, there is just not enough money to support the many needs of our injured heroes and their families. Long term recovery needs are many and intense: care giving, travel, disability, specialized equipment and more are required. Families of our wounded often get overlooked.”
“The monies these girls raise will directly benefit our heroes and their families,” says Coach Rick Kolsky, “I’m immensely proud of these young ladies.”
This is the team’s second year of combining service with their tournament efforts. Last year the team donated almost $8,000 to the Nashville, TN Red Cross flood relief efforts. The team also spent an afternoon sorting canned goods for distribution to flood victims.
This year so far the team has scored more than 1,000 points and estimates it will score 1,200 points from April through June. Pledging a penny a point nets a $13 donation; pledging a quarter a point nets about $325; pledging $1 a point nets $1,300. Flat donation amounts are welcome as well.
“We hope to raise over $10,000 from hundreds of donors,” says team member Amanda Kowalski of Arlington Heights. “Imagine the powerful message that will send to our soldiers.” Donations can be made at saluteinc.org, with Hoops for Heroes listed on the memo line. Salute, Inc. is a Chicago area based organization that passionately pursues meeting the financial, physical and emotional needs of military service members, veterans and their families, and will forward 100% of the contributions to the WTB .
Liz Satter of Glencoe, IL, summed it all up: “Hoops for Heroes means that I get to play the game I love and help the soldiers who protect me everyday.”
7th Grade Elite Black Full Package Team:
Abby Dein, Glenview, Il
Amanda Kowalski, Arlington Heights, Il
Becca Napoli, Wilmette, Il
Haley Greer, Riverwoods, Il
Kelly Johnson, Antioch, Il
Liz Satter, Glencoe IL
Madie Kaelber, Pleasant Prairie, WI
Maddie Welter, Arlington Heights, Il
Rebecca Koch, Cary, Il
Sammie Woodward, Franksville, Wi
Head Coach: Rick Kolsky
Top row, left to right:
Coach Rick Kolsky, Maddie Welter, Madie Kaelber, Sam Woodward, Kelly Johnson, Liz Satter.
Bottom Row, left to right: Amanda Kowalski, Becca Napoli, Haley Greer, Abby Dein, Becky Koch