CLARK — The 2012-2013 girls’ basketball team at Arthur L. Johnson High School made a commitment this past season to not only do their best in practice and games but to help make things better for those who are in need of a helping hand or a morale boost.
The two projects that were undertaken were St. Jude Children’s Hospital and The Wounded Warrior Project.
St. Jude’s is a hospital that treats children’s cancer patients. All children are treated with no regard to race, religion, or ability to pay. The hospital has produced many advances in the treatment of all types of cancer.
The second project selected was the Wounded Warrior Project. WWP has many purposes, including: To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members; to help injured service members aid and assist each other; and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
Because of the wars being currently fought we have many servicemen coming back with severe physical and emotional injuries. Today’s battlefield medics are able to save many of our heroes but many years of treatment and therapy are still needed for them. The team decided to partake in Johnson High Supports Our Heroes Night. Shirts were designed and worn in school that day and in warm-ups before the game. These shirts were purchased by Coach Tom Chmiel and Andy Hegedus, a Vietnam veteran, and close friend of Coach Chmiel. The donation was made in honor of the many men and women who have served our country.
An explanation of the WWP was made before the game and money was raised through the generosity of both Clark and New Providence fans. T-shirts were sold for $20 with every dollar going to the project. A total of $622 was made at the game. The check was sent to the New York office of Wounded Warriors Project with a request that the money be used to help a New Jersey veteran if possible. Purchasing backpacks with supplies needed for the recovering hero to use during rehab was another use of the donated money.
Chmiel said, “As Head Coach of this fine group of ladies, I am very proud of the effort they put forth in both projects. Hopefully they will continue to remember that they have a responsibility to help others who need a kind word, a helping hand, or encouragement in their struggle to beat a disease or recover from their injuries.”