Piqua, Ohio (WDTN) — Traditionally rivals on the field and court, the communities of Piqua and Troy are united in one cause.
To benefit veterans and raise awareness about PTSD, students are selling T-shirts ahead of the Piqua vs. Troy basketball game on February 10.
“It shows that rivalries can be put aside for a common purpose like veterans. I take great pride in what they have done for us,” said Chip Hare, Athletic Director at Piqua City School.
This is a student-led fundraiser that benefits Save a Warrior. They have already raised his $13,000 with sponsorships from local businesses, and the student hopes that number will grow further with his $16,000 goal.
“At first, I thought saving one life was a great goal. increase.
Rudd spearheads a t-shirt sale that started as a service learning project.
“Grandpa was serving in Vietnam. And he had a purple heart in Vietnam. He never had PTSD, but I understand. I feel like I’m not myself, so this is why it really resonated with me and I have a personal connection with it,” Rudd explains.
Friends Landon Lawson and Nathan Buecker are also on board with him.
“I know Rudd, and he’s determined. I knew he would influence it,” Lawson says.
“I’m primarily in charge of T-shirt sales. I think I’ll organize all the T-shirts. We have about 600 people in our high school right now, so we’re trying to organize everything,” Buecker explains. . “This seemed like something I really wanted to be a part of.”
Proceeds from the t-shirt sales will go to Save a Warrior, a non-profit organization that helps veterans return to civilian life when they return from war. Through this organization, $4,000 will be spent to save the lives of veterans with PTSD.
John Rooker was a veteran who suffered emotional and mental anguish after years of service.
“When I came back from Vietnam, I was suffering from severe PTSD. And it lasted for about five years. And I became an alcoholic. And I was probably close to suicide myself. You would,” explains Looker. “The hardest part for me was carrying that guilt on my shoulders, and he carried it on for 35 years until he got help.”
Rooker got the help he needed, but several of his friends were unable to help and took their own lives. Looker is involved with numerous veterans’ organizations including American Legion, VFW, Purple Heart Honor Guard, Disabled Veterans, Warren County Veterans Suicide Prevention Coalition, and Save a Warrior. He makes it one of his missions to help other veterans.
“Having these young men step up and do this for that organization means a lot to me and to the veterans,” Looker said. “If they only save one life in his efforts so far, it’s worth it.”
The cause of this is very personal, not just for Looker, but for the students holding the fundraiser.
“I feel like I’m doing something not just for myself. It’s definitely selfless. It doesn’t bring it to me, but I feel selfless with it. That’s great.” says Rudd.
T-shirts are available for $15 at Piqua and Troy High Schools and the Piqua School Board. Purchasing a t-shirt also entitles you to the basketball game on February 10th.
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https://www.wdtn.com/news/local-news/piqua-troy-students-selling-t-shirts-to-help-veterans/ Piqua, Troy students selling t-shirts to help veterans