Magic, Jeff Green Host Hoops for Troops Commitment to Service Project
By Josh Cohen
Nov. 10, 2016
ORLANDO – Barry Tressler, who retired from the U.S. Army six years ago, appreciates everything the Orlando Magic do to help and honor military veterans.
Magic forward Jeff Green, meanwhile, appreciates everything Tressler and all the U.S. armed forces do to protect him and the entire nation.
This universal gratitude and admiration made Thursday’s care-packing event at the Orlando Army Recruiting Headquarters extra special. Green helped Tressler and more than a dozen other active and retired soldiers compile 200 healthcare packets for local homeless veterans. Items such as toothpaste and soap will be delivered to those in need.
This event was part of NBA Cares Hoops for Troops Week and it came on the eve of the 13th annual Seats for Soldiers Night presented by Harris Corporation. The Veterans Day celebration will feature a variety of festivities at Amway Center during the Magic’s game against the Utah Jazz.
Green got a chance to learn from Tressler and the others about some of their experiences and was shown a military vehicle and how it’s used during combat.
“For me, it’s learning the everyday things these guys go through to protect us and save lives,” Green said. “It’s learning, appreciating everything that they do and also gaining knowledge.”
Those that attend Magic games know how deeply the organization cares for and respects the U.S. military. Around the time of the national anthem, the Magic pay tribute to an honorary soldier. This is something Tressler gets emotional about every time because he is aware of what it means for him and all the others that have helped make this country safer.
“That is amazing,” said Tressler, who now lives in Volusia County. “It makes you melt. I love to look around the stadium and you see all the vets standing up and you think, wow this is pretty cool.”
U.S. Army First Class Sergeant Nora Astorga says it’s extraordinary for organizations like the Magic to support and help veterans who may be struggling to get back on their feet.
“We are always looking out for the well-being of others,” she said. “The partnership we have with the Orlando Magic is we came together to make sure sure that these packages are good for homeless veterans.”
Hoops for Troops is a year-round initiative led by the NBA, its teams and players in collaboration with the Department of Defense, USO and other military and veteran serving organizations to honor active and retired service men and women and their families leading up to Veterans Day. Throughout the week, the league and its teams will work side-by-side with the military to participate in various service projects across the U.S. to support local communities.
Game tickets for Friday’s game have been provided to 2,000 active and retired military personnel and their families courtesy of the Magic, Harris Corporation and season ticket holders who donated their seats for the celebration.