Longtime sports rivals partner to raise money for the families of fallen veterans


Prospect head boys’ basketball coach John Camardella knew who to contact when a community member approached him about helping a nonprofit that benefits the families of veterans.

Camardella immediately reached out to Austin Scott, John Hersey High School’s head boys’ basketball coach. The two enlisted their colleagues and decided to raise funds for the nonprofit, Folds of Honor, by building upon a healthy sports rivalry between their schools.

The fundraising kicks off today with a month-and-a-half long campaign called ‘Rivals in Sport, Partners in Purpose.’ The donations will help Folds of Honor provide educational scholarships to the families of fallen and deceased military members.

"Austin and myself, along with our respective coaching staffs, are honored to have the opportunity to teach and coach in District 214,” said Camardella, also a Prospect world religions teacher. “This fundraising effort with Folds of Honor gives our two schools and communities a chance to say thank you to the families that have sacrificed to make our work possible."

Giving back and honoring the military is a longtime tradition in District 214. In recent years, District 214 schools have raised over $80,000 to build new homes for wounded veterans. Students have also built the walls of the veterans’ new homes and have spent countless hours volunteering in their communities.

At an all-school assembly today at Hersey, students will kick off the fundraiser by recognizing the Des Plaines-based Vietnam Veterans of America 311. A Folds of Honor representative will also attend.

"Folds of Honor's mission works in harmony with the vision Coach Camardella and I have for the young men in our basketball programs,” said Scott, also an English teacher at Hersey. “We dearly honor the sacrifices of our country's military personnel, and we are inclined to do our best to match those sacrifices in our own actions."

The fundraising will be introduced to the public at tonight’s boys’ varsity basketball game between Hersey and Prospect. The campaign ends Friday, January 25 with a basketball game between the two rivals and an all-school assembly at Prospect.

The two schools will keep track of the money raised through a Folds of Honor webpage. To donate, please visit the Folds of Honor webpage here.

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