"We all have immense gratitude for the sacrifices our service men and women make to guard our liberty," said W&M head coach Debbie Taylor. "Our Military Appreciation Night will never be enough, but it's our humble way of saying to our service members: Thank you for everything you have done and for what you continue to do to protect this great country. We are eternally grateful."
This collaboration between two of W&M's most visible programs, the women's basketball team and the ROTC cadets, has created a unique opportunity for both the College at large and the public to come together and enjoy basketball played at its highest level, as well as pay honor to the men and women who risk everything to keep this country safe. All active and retired service members will be admitted free of charge with their military ID to the game, which tips off at 7 p.m. in Kaplan Arena. William and Mary students also get in free of charge with their student ID, and will receive two points in the Sixth Man Promotion program.
At halftime will be a ceremony involving nine honorees, which will celebrate the achievements and sacrifices of all outstanding Americans who have proudly served our great nation. The honorees include General Donn Starry (Ret.), a local veteran who commanded units at all levels and helped shape U.S. Army doctrine during his 40 years of service, rising to four-star rank in charge of the Army Training and Doctrine Command and the U.S. Readiness Command in 1970s and 1980s. Also to be honored is Colonel Ed Shames (Ret.), a veteran of the parachute drop into Normandy in World War II and who served in the 506th Regiment including Easy Company, the focus of the best-selling book and hit HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers".
Fans will also have the opportunity to donate items such as DVDs, games, prepaid calling cards, iTunes gift cards, and similar items to the Wounded Warrior Project at two collection boxes in the concourse of William and Mary Hall, near the main entrances. The Wounded Warrior Project was established by veterans themselves to honor and empower the United States' wounded warriors. The Project's three main focuses are to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid on behalf of severely wounded service men and women; to help severely injured service members to aid and assist each other; and to provide direct programs and services to meet the needs of the members. For more information visit the WWP website at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
"When we were contacted by the women's basketball team concerning Military Appreciation Night," said cadet Daniel Kiernan '10, who has headed up the ROTC effort in coordinating the night, "We were grateful for the opportunity to honor local veterans and service members as well as to provide aid to severely injured service men and women. In supporting the event, we feel confident we can not only accomplish these goals but also tap into our school's Tribe Pride to welcome the team back from a two-game road series for a conference tilt against JMU."