Show off their special uniforms. Jeff Barnes/Metro Source.
SOUTH BUFFALO - For centuries the men and women that serve in the armed forces of the United States have kept our country safe from foreign threats and internal conflict, protected our borders, and have provided emergency civil support roles in post-disaster situations.
Last Wednesday, the varsity basketball teams of Mount Mercy Academy and Buffalo Seminary chose to give back to the members of the armed forces that have given so much of themselves for their country.
Dubbed “Mercy’s Heroes” for the event, Mount Mercy’s varsity basketball team, led by coach John Glose, hosted Buffalo Seminary in a fundraising basketball game with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Projects.
The Wounded Warrior Project [WWP] seeks to honor and empower the wounded warriors. They strive to foster the most successful, stable generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history. A previously overlooked group of heroes, the WWP is founded on the belief that by raising awareness and enlisting the public’s aide for the needs of the injured service members, they can improve the quality of life of those injured in the line of duty.
Glose, along with Metro Group, Inc. Editor Matthew Ondesko, developed the idea of the Wounded Warrior Project fundraiser, along with the Mount Mercy’s varsity basketball team.
Mount Mercy team members, including varsity basketball co-captains Lee Haggerty, Megan Sheehan and Marissa Stack, felt a personal attachment to this project.
“I’m proud to be here for such a great cause,” said Marissa Stack, “The uniforms were donated by Metro Group, Inc, and made especially for tonight with the Wounded Warrior emblem. It was an honor to wear them.”
Megan Sheehan agreed.
“I’m proud of our team for raising awareness for the Wounded Warrior cause,” stated Sheehan, “My grandfather was in the military and this event was very personal to me.”
Cadets and instructors from military school Maritime Charter School, including Instructor, FC1 Michael Allen and Cadet Noah Grzybowski, were in attendance in full uniform adding a military element to the event.
Barb Fitzgerald and other Mount Mercy varsity team moms assisted with the raffles which included autographed memorabilia from the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills. The Mount Mercy music department assisted with the bake sale for the evening. In attendance was a larger than normal crowd that included many veterans and people with a special connection to people serving in the armed forces.
Nancy Maisano, a Hamburg resident and mother of current Combat Engineer Andrew Maisano, was in attendance to support the Wounded Warriors Project.
“My son has finished his first tour of duty and is in Germany now and he loves it. His second tour of duty will begin in late spring and he will likely be deployed again,” Nancy says proudly, “He was home for two weeks at Christmas and we packed all his local favorites into that time.”
Nancy admits that Andrew’s favorite things include Mighty Taco, Bocci Pizza, local sports teams, and spending time with friends and family, evidencing that no matter how far you go, part of Western New York goes with you.
Nancy also admits that although she is extremely proud of her son, she is nervous about the upcoming potential deployment.
Many others in attendance come from military families. Event coordinators coach Glose and Editor Matt Ondesko’s fathers served in Vietnam; Ondesko’s father serving two tours of duty and Glose’s father served in the Air Force just after high school, putting off his college education until after his service to his country. Both fathers were fortunate to have left their service without injury, but knew others that weren’t as fortunate.
With the Wounded Warrior Project hitting so close to home for so many of the Mount Mercy students, event coordinators and attendees, the score of the game just didn’t matter in the end. It was all about the service men and women that have given their country so much.
“Both of my grandfathers were in the military,” stated Co-Captain Lee Haggerty, “Our senior class wanted to start a tradition of raising money and awareness for a good cause and we chose the Wounded Warrior Project. This was our chance to give back to those who were injured in service to our country.”
Our thanks go out to all of those, past or present, who have served in the United States Armed Forces, with special thanks going out to the men and women who have sustained injuries as a result of their service.
If you would like to donate to the Mercy’s Heroes basketball game, please go to https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/individual-fundraising/mercyheroes/.