Area residents were treated to a basketball game and also helped raise money for Options Center for Independent Living on April 22.
The event was held at Watseka Community High School and included the University of Illinois wheelchair basketball team playing against a Kankakee Community College Lady Cavaliers team and another comprised of first responders from the Iroquois County. The first responders played two quarterbacks against the University of Illinois team and the KCC team played one. In the first quarter, the U of I team played a scrum against each other.
First responders came from Watseka, Chebanse, Ashkum, Martinton, Stockland, Woodland and Milford. Participants included Tom Sandeno, Nick Brault, Charles Jones, Jeff Meyer, Dave Castongue, Tim Hedge, Ken Depoister, Jeff Glenn, Dave Morgeson, Tim Kent, Harrison Kent, Marsha Glenn, David Trout, Ethan Trout, Adam Weber, Derrick Miller, Caleb Kent, AJ Kingdon, Rick Grosvenor, Frank Hines and Jerrod Woodby. Options board member Todd Brack also played a quarterback with first responders.
KCC players include Amarii Mays, Summer Hill, Danielle Lillie, Hayley Diveley, Emma Robles, Destiny Goodwin, T’Laizha Morris and Mae Graffeo.
The U of I players included Haley Smith, Mary Wagstaff, Marctrell Stevens, Miles Hill, Alicia Guerrero, Willy Moronchuk and Ranley Clayton and were accompanied by athletic director Maureen Gilbert.
There were baskets available at auction, concessions for sale and other special events. Overall, Options staff were happy with the event. Tim Waters hosted the event.
“Overall, the event was a success. As always, the University of Illinois brought some incredibly talented student-athletes to the event,” said Dan Brough, Options CFO and Outreach Advocate. “Maureen Gilbert is doing a fantastic job with their program and I’m glad Options has this relationship with her and the U of I team. Our other volunteer participants, the Kankakee Community College women’s basketball team and the Iroquois County First Responders Team are also helping to raise awareness and further entertainment. The talented student-athletes at KCC quickly realize that they have to rely on the strength of their arms and immediately have an appreciation that they generally play their game. Ashkum Fire Chief Jeff Glenn again upped auctions this year by having the U of I team wear the same helmets and gloves worn when first responders respond to an emergency call. This strategic advantage was not enough and air pack masks were also added to the U of I team. The U of I team was a big sportsman when it came to additional equipment and was still able to defeat first responders.
“This event would not be as successful as it is without the exceptional efforts of our Kankakee and Iroquois County Board of Directors and Advisory Councils,” Brough said. “The time they volunteer for our organization and our events is simply exceptional. Countless hours were spent planning the event, contacting Watseka High School and the U of I team, buying and preparing raffle baskets, and then coming to work on the event itself. same. Our volunteers are really great people.
“This event, along with our other fundraising efforts, is so important to Options for doing what we do. There are many programs and services we offer our consumers that are not covered by our core funding. We provide them because there is a greater need in our community than our funding can provide and this is where everyone reading this can help Every penny we raise stays in the community and is used to help our consumers. That consumer may be a family member, neighbor, co-worker, or other Kankakee or Iroquois County resident, but the fact is, we’re here to help. We’re all a slide away and a fall, car accident, medical emergency or rapid onset of illness far from eventually needing our services and everyone can help ensure that Options is here to stay and p People with disabilities continue to get the necessary programs and services they need to maintain their independence and participate fully in society, because after all, we are all people.