When Charlotte and Eaton Rapids renew their long football rivalry on Friday, they will set aside some of their animosity to come together for a good cause.
The game is billed as Victory for Veterans, and will raise both funds and awareness for the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids.
The teams will wear special commemorative jerseys in the game, which have been sponsored by members of the community for $100 each. The jerseys will feature the name of a veteran or active-duty member of the armed forces close to the player who will wear it, and will be given to either that person or their family after the contest.
Charlotte head football coach Eddie Ostipow said that the game fits the tradition of Oriole games that benefit the community.
“We’ve done games for breast cancer awareness, and a lot of schools are doing that now,” Ostipow said. “It’s a great cause obviously, but we also do a Relay For Life game in basketball and other things. So we thought that this would be a unique way to do some community service and honor our veterans. We have a lot of veterans in Eaton County and a lot of active-duty soldiers who are graduates of Charlotte High School as well.”
Ostipow said that the support for the game, and the cause, from the community has been very strong.
“We actually have more (sponsored jerseys) than players,” he said. “So, we’re going to have our players wear a different jersey in each half of the game.”
The Army National Guard paid for the jerseys, so that all of the sponsorship money will go to the VFW National Home.
“There are so many veterans in Eaton County, so we wanted to make sure that all of the money raised stayed at home in both communities, Charlotte and Eaton Rapids,” Ostipow said.