‘Hoops for Troops’ scores big for veterans at Saint Anselm College

Zef Vataj, Crier Staff

Easter Seals hosted a charity basketball game at Saint Anselm College in an effort to increase capital for veterans on Jan. 29th. The game between Trinity High and Bishop Guertin served as a thank you to not only Wounded Warriors, but to the volunteers and coordinators who make Easter Seals (ES) such a special place.

Since 2006, Veterans Count and ES has partnered with public and private service groups across New Hampshire, alleviating the struggle of nearly 10,000 veterans across the state. Care coordinators provide individual support aimed at self-sufficiency; ensuring their dignity, and fortifying their health.

Donors have raised over $2.8 million for food, home maintenance, utilities, medical bills and substance abuse treatment. As a result, coordinators have intervened successfully in 111 suicide risk situations and assisted 934 participants in securing permanent employment.

Joe Emmons, a Saint Anselm graduate of 2004, spoke glowingly of the event’s turnout and its impact on veterans affairs. “Neil Duval and his staff from athletics were very helpful and accommodating. Everything went off very smoothly!”, Emmons told The Crier.

Crier\Tim Mannila
Players on the court during the charity Easter Seals game at Stoutenburgh.

The four chapters who represent New Hampshire have raised thousands in philanthropic donations for veterans. While no individual can claim a perfect road to recovery, Easter Seals is there for both the good and the bad; serving as a ballast on the rocky and often difficult path to a more hopeful future. Easter Seals’ website tells the story of a former Marine Nolan; a tale of courage and persistence that defines what ES is all about..

Nolan was deployed over 5 times this last decade, two with the Marines and three with the Army National Guard. He volunteered out of his unit’s deployment cycle, spent years away from his beloved children and sacrificed his life for the betterment of America.

Nolan’s last deployment ended in 2012, and life in the United States could seem worse for the ailing hero. He spent two years at a Warrior Transition Unit, only sporadically contacting the outside world. He returned home to find that his wife had filed for divorce. Nolan was reeling, and struggling to survive in an ungrateful world. Easter Seals first met Nolan at a time when help was hard to come by and love was desperately needed. Care coordinators secured better VA funding, slowly increasing the resources at Nolan’s disposal. They worked to connect him with a larger support group, and built a robust schedule of PTSD treatment, orthopedics support and more.

While Nolan still has a long road ahead of him, his story is one of many examples in which Easter Seals has made a substantial impact on veterans’ lives. The proceeds from “Hoops for Troops” will go to Nolan and many others.