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On Sept. 11, fifteen local coaches and seventy-five youths participated in the 2nd annual Hoops for the Troops Basketball Clinic at the Parsons Gym in Milford.

The event was coordinated by Joe Meade, a college scout for the NBA’s Utah Jazz and director of Hoopskills Basketball Instruction. The clinic featured many local coaches and educators from the area.

The skills clinic focused on teaching fundamentals and was comprised of more than two hours of fast moving and competitive drills and contests with prizes and plenty of excitement.

The event raised over $2,800 for United for the Troops, a not-for-profit organization that sends care packages to soldiers serving overseas UFT is run by Jim and Patty Rathschmidt, who started the organization when their son returned home from the Middle East after serving his tour.

It is an all volunteer based 501c3 organization and all donations are used to pay for postage and supplies. In the past five years, they have sent over 10,000 boxes of donated goods to our troops.

Meade is a former New York City Transit Police Officer and high school and college basketball coach. He began working for the Jazz in 2012.

“I lost many friends and colleagues on 9-11 and I can’t think of a better way to honor their service and support our troops”, Meade said.

Amongst the volunteer coaches were Chris Watts, former St. Joseph’s High School and Providence College standout now coaching the Cadets, and Dr. Kevin McGinniss, the president and CEO of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), who hired Meade in his first college coaching job at Lehman College in 1992.

The event was co-sponsored by Milford-based Carrubba, Inc. and Berchem, Moses and Devlin Law Offices, who paid for the basketballs that each player received at the end of the program.

At the close of the clinic, every participant was asked to write a letter to a soldier thanking them for their service. The kids ranging in age from 7-15 and were all happy to do their part to raise the morale of our troops.

Hoopskills Basketball has also partnered with the Milford Knights Basketball to hold pre-season skills clinics and a Spring Break basketball camp. Meade offers free coaching clinics for their volunteers.

For more information on upcoming programs go to hoopskillsbasketball.com or email Joe at jmeade2873@aol.com.