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Paintball fundraiser supports troops

• Two hundred enthusiasts play to buy care packages

Posted: May 18, 2008 1:11 a.m.
Updated: July 19, 2008 5:01 a.m.

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For the members of the Blue Star Mothers of the Canyons, and owner of Paintball USA, it doesn't matter whether a person is for or against the Iraq War; it's about showing support for the troops.

To offer their appreciation for the troops on Armed Forces Day, the Blue Star Mothers of the Canyons, the Santa Clarita Valley's chapter of the nonprofit organization bringing moms and family members of military servicemen together, teamed up with the Agua Dulce paintball park to host the fundraiser, "Fight for our Troops" on Saturday.

The event, which brought 200 paintball enthusiasts on Saturday and continues today, raised money for the Blue Star Mothers to purchase goods and postage for care packages to send to U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, wounded soldiers and families of fallen soldiers.

For every admission or package purchased, $10 was donated to the Blue Star Mothers.

Debi Duke, president of Chapter 82 in Newhall, said every donation paid for the postage on one care package.

Duke said the event was a first for the local chapter and hopes that it will become an annual fundraiser in the coming years.

Nevertheless, Duke, whose 22-year-old son, Xander, is a medic in the 82nd Airbone Division, believes the troops need continued support from everyone.

Whether or not someone has a loved one serving, she believes that "all of our troops are all of our sons and daughters."

Kymmer Crookston, mother of Daryl, 19, who was recently deployed to Afghanistan, agreed.

"They all need support," Crookston said.

It was a thought that Mike Schwartz, owner of Paintball USA, felt, as well.

"Even though there are a lot of us not in favor of the war, we still want to support the troops," he said.

He considered the paintball fundraiser as a way to not only appreciate the troops, but take out aggression and learn team building skills.

Despite Saturday's hot weather, the teams of players dressed in camouflage outfits and paintball jerseys spent their day at the paintball field to benefit the troops.

At one station, 13-year-old Nicholas Kellikidis decided to throw his birthday party at Paintball USA with his 20 friends.
A few tables down, Mike Kang took a break in between his games.

The Granada Hills resident, who spent four and a half years in the Marines, said it is important to recognize the troops for their efforts. He said that it means a lot for the soldiers to know that people back home are thinking of them.

"It gives them hope," he said.


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