Sticks for Soldiers Inc., the nonprofit charity that grew out of the Fairfield Ludlowe High School lacrosse program, has donated $100,000 to two servicemen who were critically injured in combat.
The donations -- $50,000 to each soldier -- represent money raised during the organization's Sticks for Soldiers lacrosse tournament at Ludlowe last fall, plus contributions collected over the winter, the nonprofit organization said.
The gifts were presented in June to Army Spec. Sean Pesce, of West Haven, and Army Capt. Ben Harrow, of Rockville, Md., Sticks for Soldiers said in a news release. The money will help the men with expenses such as housing, education, family expenses and modifications to their homes.
Pesce sustained 13 gunshot wounds in Afghanistan in October 2012 and was left with a permanent spinal cord injury, the nonprofit organization said. He was presented his $50,000 gift during a dinner in West Haven with officials of Sticks for Soldiers, Ludlowe Lacrosse coach Chris Parisi and the Ludlowe team captains.
Harrow, a West Point graduate and former Army lacrosse captain, lost both his legs when he stepped on a mine in Afghanistan in May 2012, Sticks for Soldiers said. His gift was presented by the nonprofit's president, Jim Tommins, during a lunch in Maryland.
For eight years, the Sticks for Soldiers Tournament has been held on Thanksgiving weekend. Last year's tournament included 58 boys and girls teams and 850 players.
The 2014 tournament is scheduled Nov. 29 at Ludlowe. The wounded honorees who will receive assistance will be announced in the fall, the organization said.