GRIFFITH | The Chicago Fire Wheelchair Basketball Team, with returning 2013 Griffith High School graduates Jackie and Jodi Morales, took on a team of Griffith Junior-Senior High students and the Griffith Faculty All-Stars in the seventh annual Wheelchair Basketball Extravaganza held March 14 to recognize Disability Awareness Month.
This year's theme "Dream to Dare," led the event into a new era with the Chicago Fire, new sponsors and special guests.
Griffith Town Council President Glen Gaby proclaimed March as Disability Awareness Month and the National Guard Color Guard, Griffith students and the Griffith High Band led the crowd in the National Anthem as a full-floor length U.S. flag was unfurled.
Back by popular demand, Times music/entertainment columnist and 89.1FM-Lakeshore Public Radio host Tom Lounges served as emcee, and Tom Ghrist performed as DJ. Also on hand was Rusty, the Gary SouthShore RailCats mascot, with BEA, the Lake County Fair mascot, as the mystery guest.
A $3,000 check was presented to the Chicago Fire Wheelchair Basketball Team, thanks to donations from the George & Liz (Owczarczak) Golf for a Cause, United Federal Credit Union and other sponsors.
"Herb Brooks, 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team coach, used several sayings to stir his young team. One quote sticks out, 'Great moments are born from great opportunity,'" Event Coordinator Thom Howell said. "I am excited to say that our Wheelchair Extravaganza is but another great opportunity for Griffith students, faculty and staff to experience a great moment."