Truce for Troops raises $20,945 for LANG families - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Truce for Troops raises $20,945 for LANG families

Neil Abramson dropping back for a pass (Source: Byron Thomas/WAFB)) Neil Abramson dropping back for a pass (Source: Byron Thomas/WAFB))
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It never rains in Tiger Stadium. 

That old saying held true Sunday as the dreary clouds and persistent rain that has hovered over Baton Rouge for the past week, broke for an idyllic, albeit humid, afternoon in Death Valley. 

The spectators filed into the stadium for a rematch game between fierce rivals.  Competitors traded insults.  Coaches rallied their players.  Someone ate grass.

With this game, there was more than victory was on the line.  This was a game played for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Today's all about trying to get some money to the families who lost their loved ones," said  Rep. Nick Lorusso (R-New Orleans).

The game at hand was the second Truce for the Troops charity flag football event between state Democrats and Republicans.  New Orleans Saints Zach Strief, and Tim Lelito provided the coaching for the two teams.  It was organized by the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs in the wake of the Black Hawk training accident that took the lives of four Louisiana soldiers one month ago. 

"It's really important for us to remember the families, we wanted to come together, raise some money, have fun while we're doing it," said Rep. Neil Abramson D-New Orleans.
While the game didn't have the sold out crowd you may see on Saturdays in the fall, it did have enough to raise more than $20,000 for the families of the fallen guardsmen.

"Anytime we have people who recognize the service of our service members of our families, it's a great thing,” said Maj. General Glenn Curtis, Adjutant General for the Louisiana National Guard.  
“Today especially, with the loss of our aviation crew in the Black Hawk crash, to have their families here and pay them special honors, it's an unbelievable thing."

For a little over an hour, the teams ran back and forth over between the end-zones with some truly entertaining plays.  Equally amusing was the heckling of players from both sides.  At one point, Lelito held up a play card that included a picture of Governor Bobby Jindal wearing an Elvis Costume.  There was also the occasional floor debate with the referees, leading one Republican player to jokingly claim the officiators had been paid off.

While the first Truce for the Troops game resulted in some broken bones, the worst injury on Sunday required only an ice pack.  When the clock ran out, it was the Democratic team that claimed victory, winning 26-7 over the Republicans. 

Lorusso's team took some good natured ribbing, but he says it is the number on the check that really matters. 

"Money is still coming in. We hope it lessens the burden for them just a little bit," said Lorusso.

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