The Indiana Pacers are teaming with community partners and sponsors to participate in next week’s NBA “Hoops for Troops” program, a year-round initiative led by the league, its players and the Department of Defense, USO and other military and veteran-serving organizations to honor active and retired service men and women and their families.
“We are so proud to join the other teams and the league office in this worthwhile endeavor,” said Pacers President/COO Rick Fuson. “These are the true heroes and we are honored to celebrate them and their great work and courage year round.”
The special week begins on Monday, when the Pacers partner with “Wish for Our Heroes” to host 50 military service men/women at a team practice and then serve them lunch in the Locker Room Restaurant at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Each soldier will receive a commemorative Hoops for Troops T-shirt and a Pacers Challenge Coin.
For each Pacers game that week —Tuesday vs. Milwaukee and Nov. 8 vs. Washington — Pacers guard and Indianapolis native George Hill will treat eight sideline soldiers to a meet & greet with the team, tickets to the game and dinner from Levy Restaurants. Military children will also be used at the games as part of the Pacers High Five Club. Also, at each game the first 200 veterans to show a military ID at the Pacers Cares Kiosk will receive the special military Pacers Challenge Coin.
On Wednesday, the team will host a Hoops for Troops Staff Breakfast for all military veterans who work for Pacers Sports & Entertainment and any active-duty members. Each guest will be given a Pacers Challenge Coin and game tickets. On Thursday, Pacers volunteers will gather to assemble and prepare more than 250 military CARE packages for soldiers serving overseas from Indiana. Each package is provided by Anheuser Busch as part of its “Here’s to Our Heroes” initiative and will include a letter from a Pacers coach or player, a Pacers T-shirt, a Pacers Challenge Coin, canned food, powdered drink mix singles, sunflower seeds and dried fruit and assorted other supplies.
On Nov. 8, CNO Financial Group (the parent company of Bankers Life) and the Military Warriors Support Foundation will honor a local wounded veteran, who will receive the keys to a mortgage-free home at halftime of the Washington game. On Nov. 10, the Pacers will recognize local World War II veterans during the game against Utah.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.