POTSDAM -- The first-ever Hockey Day in Potsdam, held in January, raised $9,460 to benefit Marine Cpl. Aaron Howell, a Parishville native who is recovering from serious wounds suffered in the line of …
POTSDAM -- The first-ever Hockey Day in Potsdam, held in January, raised $9,460 to benefit Marine Cpl. Aaron Howell, a Parishville native who is recovering from serious wounds suffered in the line of duty last April.
Hockey fans bought a benefit ticket good for admission on January 29 to three different North Country ice hockey games, hosted by the men of the Clarkson University Golden Knights and the SUNY Potsdam Bears, and the Potsdam Central High School Sandstoners boys. Fans and local businesses made extra contributions and pledges to a special fund for Howell during the spring season.
Massena native John B. Wing and his wife, Resa, matched all local donations through Operation Grateful Nation, a private foundation they founded to build sustainable futures for disabled veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Operation Grateful Nation focuses on services and programs to assist amputees and paralysis victims who deserve extraordinary support for their heroic sacrifices. Last April, Howell lost both legs and suffered other wounds when a mortar round exploded near him while on patrol in Afghanistan. A Marine since 2007, he also served a tour in Iraq.
Speaking on behalf of Hockey Day organizers, Clarkson University President Tony Collins said, "We owe so much to the men and women from the North Country who serve our country with distinction and personal sacrifice. We need to do everything we can to show them our support and help them lead full and productive lives when they return from service. We are appreciative of the hockey fans who came out in force for this event and to the Wings for taking the initiative to help returning veterans like Cpl. Howell."
"I am so very proud that SUNY Potsdam played a key role in Hockey Day in Potsdam," said SUNY Potsdam President John F. Schwaller. "It provided an opportunity to showcase our strong, competitive hockey program, while helping to raise funds to support a local soldier."
Howell is the son of Grace and David Howell of Parishville. If you wish to add to the funds raised for this benefit, contact Scott Smalling, associate athletic director at Clarkson University, at 268-8734 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Operation Grateful Nation, go to http://www.operationgratefulnation.org.