Tribe athletes quick to honor VT

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April 20, 2007

12:48 PM

“In such times as these, we look for sources of strength to sustain us,” President George W. Bush said in a Tuesday address to a somber audience at Virginia Tech. “And in this moment of loss, you’re finding these sources everywhere around you.” He went on to praise the community of support that had formed in response to Monday’s shootings.

p. Today, two of the Tribe’s own, sophomore Katie Broaddus and junior Jes Kacerek, join that community.

p. “We talked and figured we should really do something for Tech because nothing had been done yet,” Kacerek said. She and Broaddus immediately began planning a fundraiser. They wanted to print and sell T-shirts to raise money in support of the victims. But the girls’ reaction was so swift that no one in Blacksburg had yet set up a way to receive outside aid.

p. “Tech didn’t have a memorial fund established yet,” Kacerek said. Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Sadler and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler worked to put them in touch with the nascent Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, which has since become the primary source of relief to the Virginia Tech community.

p. Kacerek and Broaddus, who are both members of the women’s field hockey team, approached Tess Ellis about printing the shirts. Ellis volunteers as an assistant coach for the team and works at Colonial Sports, a local company that prints custom T-shirts. She immediately fell in with the spirit of the fundraiser: Colonial Sports offered to wave the cost of set-up and to charge for only one color, despite the normally expensive multi-color design of the shirts. Kacerek and Broaddus placed an order for 150 shirts.

p. Within two days, that number had increased to 1,500.

p. “We never anticipated it to be this huge,” Kacerek said. “It shows how much support there is here and how much we as a community are willing to help out a fellow university.” She cited the support of both students and staff, such as Women’s Lacrosse Coach Christine Halfpenny, who purchased shirts for her entire team to wear during warm-up at today’s game at George Mason University.

p. Kacerek, Broaddus and several of their teammates will be selling T-shirts today at the University Center between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. They expect their supply to sell-out quickly, but will be taking orders to reserve from the 1,000 additional shirts which will be printed this weekend.

p. “I just hope it provides a little bit of relied for the victims’ families,” Broaddus said. She is from Fairfax, Va. — not far from the home of shooter Cho Seung-Hui — and has many close friends at Virginia Tech, from which her brother is a graduate. “My friends at Tech are just so happy to see the support.”

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