GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) — The recipient of the money raised from the 2018 T.C. Patriot Football Game has been announced!
The nationwide non-profit called Warrior Sailing has been around since 2013, but it's brand new to the northern Michigan area.
They were up against three other veteran organizations in the area.
In the end, Warrior Sailing was chosen by a panel of students from Traverse City West High School and Traverse City Central High School because of the unique way that they aim to help veterans.
"The fact that we are just getting started and they believe in us enough and see the value of this program early on while we are still in the early awareness phase is awesome," said Casey Petz, Great Lakes Regional Coordinator for Warrior Sailing.
Petz says it's an honor to be chosen as the recipients of the proceeds from the game.
It's a game that brings together thousands of people with one common goal, to support veterans.
"As long as veterans win we're happy," said Scott Herzberg, Chairperson for the T.C. Patriot Game. "And this is clearly going to be a win for our veteran community and an offering that hasn't existed previously."
Warrior Sailing hopes to offer both veterans and the community healing and strengthening, through fun and excitement out on the water.
"We get racing sailboats and we put veterans in racing sailboats with coaches and members of the community, and we take them out on the boat to teach them sailing skills and teach them how to race sailboats which is a pretty specialized skill," Petz said.
In a way, the new skills fills a void.
"Sailing mimics something for somebody who has served that is very familiar," Petz said. "It speaks to the thrill of competition, the adventure on the water, the camaraderie with their mates, kind of drilling down to their very raw primal need to go out there and be part of something bigger than just themselves."
Scott Ford is a Navy Veteran who had to leave the service because he lost his eyesight, has taken part in the program for four years.
He says when they get out on the water, it's also easier to let loose about what's going on inside.
"It's better than any office you could have to sit on a couch and talk to your counselor," Ford said.
He believes in Warrior Sailing so much that he hopes they can expand the program to more than one boat on Grand Traverse Bay.
He says he's excited to share his positive experiences with so many others.
"This program isn't just veterans. it really incorporates a lot of different people," Ford said.
Last year the T.C. Patriot Game raised $13,000 for the group 22-2-None.
This year's game will be held on Friday, Sept. 14.
For more information about the game, click here.
For more information about Warrior Sailing and how to get involved, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org , or you can like their Instragram page at @greatlakeswarriorsailing.