Reading United A.C. is again partnering with members of the Reading United Fun League, S.A.A.R.A. (Social Activities for the Associates of the Reading Area), and other local businesses and organizations to present the 4th Annual “Hometown Heroes Soccer Fundraiser”.
This annual event will be held Saturday, July 19th 1:00pm at the home of Reading United A.C. – Wilson High School’s Gurski Stadium. The day will feature family-friendly entertainment and a solemn community tribute to Law Enforcement and Servicemen – our Hometown Heroes. Donations are welcome, and all will benefit Hounds on Working Leashes (H.O.W.L.), a non-profit organization that raises funds for the purpose of saving the lives of emergency service dogs. H.O.W.L. is committed to providing K-9’s with supplies needed to help them complete their everyday roles in the field.
The day’s Opening Ceremonies will be led by Pennsylvania’s National Guard and Berks County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, honoring Berks Hometown Heroes Officer Michael H. Wise II, Officer Scott A. Wertz, Deputy Kyle Pagerly, and CW2 Jarett Yoder. Local dignitaries will welcome the crowd, including remarks from Pennsylvania State Senator Judy Schwank (11th), Sheriff Eric Weaknecht, State Rep. Mark Gillen (128th), and State Rep. David Maloney (130th). State Rep. Jim Cox (129th) will oversee the soccer match’s opening coin toss, while U.S. Congress candidate Ryan Costello (6th) will send out the honorary “First Kick”.
The Main Event features a casual and fun soccer match between Berks County Law Enforcement and members of Reading United Fun League. Law Enforcement holds the all-time edge (2-1), but seeks to avenge last year’s shocking 5-1 loss. During Halftime, the Reading Police Department K-9 unit will stage a very special K-9 demonstration in honor of Deputy Pagerly’s partner Jynx. Over the past three years, the Hometown Heroes Soccer Fundraiser has raised over $10,000 for those that serve and protect us to the highest degree.
James Kurtz, President of H.O.W.L. stated, “Hounds on Working Leashes is looking forward to being a part of the soccer event this year. We started H.O.W.L. last year, and through the overwhelming support of the public and our volunteers, we have already provided 12 police K9′s with custom fit ballistic/stab resistant vests in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We have also provided one fire department K9 with vehicle safety equipment and training aids. We are on track to vest many more canines this year. These vests cost $1400 each and through the support of the public and organizations like this we can continue to keep our valuable emergency service K9s protected.”
John Cusatis, Director of Community Relations of the Reading United stated, “Reading United is again proud and honored to be able to put this event together this year. We hope that this event can help every year in honoring four great men and bring an overall awareness to all of the policemen, firefighters, first responders, and military personnel out there. We are excited that we can use soccer as a vehicle for community awareness and are thankful to everyone that has helped in putting this event together every year. We hope you can come out and help contribute to this great cause for four very special people.”
Denise Strohmayr, Executive Director of Reading United added, “Reading United A.C. is proud of the charitable works and community involvement of the Reading United Fun League. We are humbled to raise funds, show our support and honor the heroic acts of all law enforcement and public servants at our annual Hometown Heroes event. It is with heavy hearts we remember and thank those fallen officers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our safety and freedom.”
At 7:00 pm, Reading United will play its final regular season home game as they host New Jersey LUSO Parma. United will look to lock up the club’s seventh consecutive appearance in PDL postseason with a win over the Mid-Atlantic Division’s last placed team.