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Burlington tournament to honor veterans

BURLINGTON — There will be six more names added to the Burlington Veterans Memorial at the Commons Park.

Those names will be unveiled at the upcoming Burlington Veterans Basketball Tournament on Saturday, July 9.

The tournament was begun to pay tribute to Theodore U. Church, the Burlington native who was killed during the Memorial Day holiday in 2007 as he served in Iraq. Church was 32 when his helicopter crashed under enemy fire during combat.

“It started to honor him, but now it is to honor all the fallen veterans in Burlington,” Chris Saunders, event organizer, said.

Right now there are four names on the granite monument — Church, Gregory J. Maynard and Roger Smith, both of whom were killed in Vietnam, and Benjamin Butcher who was killed during World War II.

The new names to the monument will be David Snyder who died in the Korean War; Joseph Perry and Walter Noble, both killed in WWII, and William Pigman, Benjamin Terry and Ramson Riddle, killed during the Civil War.

This is the fifth year for the basketball tournament whose proceeds financed the memorial as well as improvements to the park.

“We added new rims and backboards to the full-sized basketball court and at the half-sized court we added new rims, backboards and extended the court and resurfaced it,” Saunders said. “The tournament paid for that and the Fayette Township Trustees.”

This year there will be two divisions competing in the 4-on-4 games. The Warrier Division is opened to adults and the Recruit Division for players who will be in eighth to 12th grade when school resumes.

Registration is $90 a team before June 26 and $120 per team afterwards. July 7 is the cutoff for registration. The forms can be found online at www.facebook.com/bvmt4on4 or at the service desk at Walmart in Burlington.

Aaron Jackson of Big Guys Barbecue will cater refreshments of ribs, hot dogs and hamburgers.

So far more than $20,000 has been raised over the past four years from the July event. Future projects include resurfacing the full court and putting upgrades to the memorial.

Also engraved bricks are being sold to bring in additional funds for park improvements.

“There are three different sections,” Saunders said. “A veterans only section for $100 a brick, a premium civilian section for $150 and a budget civilian for $100.

“If you have a family member, you want to remember, buy an engraved brick or for yourself to show your support, even if you weren’t in the military.”