If sports and competition is the ship, then compassion and caring are the anchors.
Both emerged as the true winners Monday night as Penn State Mont Alto held a Semper Fi Rally before and during their PSUAC men's basketball game against Penn State Lehigh Valley at the Mont Alto Multipurpose Activities Center.
All proceeds from donations raised from the event — which included a silent auction, a raffle and t-shirt sales — will be given to the Semper Fi Fund, an organization dedicated to helping wounded Marines as well as wounded veterans in other branches of the military who have beenin support of Marines. The Semper Fi Fund raises money to assist these wounded veterans in need of special care. It helps with costs of handicapped accessible vehicles, homes and any other need that may be required of a wounded veteran.
PSU Mont Alto senior and former Marine Dan Smay worked tirelessly since the fall to make the event happen.
"Being a veteran myself, somebody told me to look around to see what I wanted to do," Smay said after Penn State Mont Alto defeated Penn State Lehigh Valley 58-52 Monday night. "Since the Marines are close to my heart and I'm a former Marine, I chose the Semper Fi Fund to help out my fellow Marines and their families."
Smay was surprised by his own family last night. They made the trip from Clearfield to watch the benefit game. Smay's father (Gary), mother (Darla) and brothers (Kurt and Tim) were all on at the game.
"Both my brothers were in the Marine Corps. My uncle is a retired sergeant major from the Marine Corps," Smay said. "I served in the Marines from 2004 to 2005 and served overseas a couple times.
"It was definitely a special moment with all the veterans that came out and the Marine Corps league detachments that came out. My family was even here. They came down here from Clearfield. I didn't even know they were coming."
Smay admitted that he had never heard of the Semper Fi Fund until he began to research possible charities to headline the benefit game.
"Basically, I contacted them and they sent me some promo stuff," Smay said. "We just set everything up, went out and got some sponsors to donate money, got people to donate items for the silent auction and the raffle and then just set everything up and picked the game and went from there."
PSU Mont Alto coach Jack Schenzel was on board with the idea from the outset.
"Dan and I talked in the fall as far as what we wanted to do as a benefit game," Schenzel said. "I felt really strongly that since Dan was a Marine Corps veteran we would try to play for the Wounded Warrior or some other fund like that. Dan took a lot of time to research the Semper Fi Fund and he was able to find a good charity that does great things. He did a great job of organizing this. Everything he did was on his own."