Sponsors Needed for September Game Benefitting Local Veterans
Posted by Uplift Shiawassee at 11:20pm 5/28/17
2016 Operation Freedom Football Game, Durand Railroaders vs. Byron Eagles/Uplift Shiawassee photo

On Friday, September 8th, 2017, the second annual Operation Freedom game will take place at Durand’s Roundhouse Stadium.  The Railroaders will play the Goodrich Martians football team that Friday night and all proceeds will go to the Durand Area Veterans Relief Fund. All money raised stays local!

What is this event? Operation Freedom Committee is raising funds to honor Veterans that are not always remembered or honored in the way they deserve. Many Veterans have financial needs that go unmet. We want the funds to stay local. National events like Wounded Warrior Project do not stay local. We want players to understand the importance of honoring those who have made sacrifices to allow us to play a game. We want to connect our football program and school to our community. 

Durand Varsity Football Coach, Jason Gray, organized our first annual Operation Freedom Event last year and the results were amazing. Approximately $6,000 was raised for our local Veterans. Furthermore, the community became excited and felt connected with the district. Veterans were appreciative and felt supported. Students learned the value of giving respect to others.

Where do the funds go? All sponsorships, t-shirt sales, etc. will be sent to Derrick & Julie Alward, all expenses for the event will be paid and once the event is concluded a check will be presented to Durand VFW and Durand Am Vets. The Am Vets/VFW will collect any applications for assistance and determine fund distributions.

Operation Freedom T-Shirts will be sold for $20.00. All who purchase these will be admitted to the game for free. T-shirts will be sold at local parades, at Youth Sporting Events and directly through the Athletic Office. Our goal for selling these T-Shirts is set at 500.

What are the events that will take place? Operation Freedom will recognize Veterans in a pre-game 21-gun salute. There will be a Hospitality Tent for dinner and free admission for the Veterans. There will be a Carnival before the game 3:00-6:00pm. Admission for the carnival will be $2 per person or $5 per family. The carnival will include inflatables, music and face painting. Durand’s Elementary and Middle Schools will be involved by selling “All-Stars” for $1.00 in remembrance or in honor of individuals. These will be displayed in the schools. Music Teacher, Ms. Rodgers at Robert Kerr is organizing a choir group for singing during the pre-game. Durand Youth Football players will be getting $5 pledges, with each pledge raised, they will be allowed to release a balloon before the game. Roundhouse Stadium will be decorated, the field will be painted in patriotic designs/colors. Balloons, Banners, Sidewalk Chalk, Red, White and Blue everywhere. There will be a Jersey Auction held approximately 3-4 weeks prior to the game. 6-8 jerseys will be entered into the auction. The highest bidders get to decide the name on the back. These jersey’s will be worn at the game and highest bidders will be presented with the jersey in a post-game ceremony. There will be a special game program with team pictures, sponsors, veteran information and information about the fund. There will be Fireworks after the national anthem, after each Durand Touchdown and there will be a post-game Fireworks show. The next morning there will be a 5K Run/Walk starting at the middle school parking lot. Cost will be $25 race fee and includes a t-shirt and post-race snacks.

All the events can only take place if the Operation Freedom II Committee raises enough funds. The committee chair leaders for sponsorships are Derrick and Julie Alward, please message them on Facebook or contact Derrick (517) 605-8812 or Julie Alward (517) 204-7159 or by email alward525@live.com with any questions.

The Operation Freedom II Committee will be going out to our area businesses securing sponsorships for these events. We are currently looking for Event Sponsorships for Fireworks Sponsorships, Half-Time Sponsorships, Carnival Sponsorship, (4) Game Quarter Sponsorships, Hospitality Tent Sponsorship and Unlimited amounts of Gold Star, Silver Star, Red, Blue and White Sponsorships.

Not a business? We are actively seeking unlimited individual Red, Blue and White Sponsorships as well.

Together we can make a difference. Please help us pay respect and honor our local Veterans.