By Jennifer Rodriguez
Veterans at Youngstown State University now have a new scholarship opportunity through the very first YSU Military Appreciation Jersey Auction.
Between Sept. 1 through Nov. 4, an online auction is taking place where the public can bid on specialized YSU military themed football jerseys. The proceeds of the auction will help fund the Veterans Resource Center Scholarship through the YSU Foundation.
Rick Williams, coordinator of veteran’s affairs, said the idea for the auction came from Southern Illinois University.
“They have done this for seven or eight years in a row now. Their cause is breast cancer. They get pink jerseys and auction them off, all the proceeds go to breast cancer awareness. Our cause is going to be veteran’s scholarships,” Williams said.
The bidding starts at 125 dollars. In total 80 jerseys will be auctioned off, one for each player on YSU’s football team. Each jersey will be worn by one of the players during the military appreciation game on Nov. 18 against Missouri State University.
“The winner of the jersey will actually get their name on the back of the jersey; the player will wear their name in the ball game. After the game is over the player will take off the jersey and give it to the winner,” Williams said.
Williams said the auction is sponsored by several organizations, including Stadium GM in Salem and NECA-IBEW (National Electrical Contractors Association-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).
Jim Houck, a representative of NECA-IBEW, said he has always been very interested in supporting veterans’ causes.
“We have supported several veterans’ causes, but this one was different. For this, we produced a website to host the online auction,” Houck said.
The online website, ysujerseyauction.com, is hosted by NECA-IBEW, and it provides all information on the auction. The website also accepts bids.
Houck said some of the electricians from NECA-IBEW were involved in the construction of the YSU Veterans Center and have kept in contact since. He said the company is always looking for ways to support veterans and encourage people to visit their website, necaibewelectricians.com.
Williams said the scholarship is provided to veterans and family members of veterans in certain situations. One of the requirements to receive the scholarship is the student cannot already be funded through another source.
Martyn Moss, manager of building services, is the chair of the fundraiser and said the main goal of the scholarship is to assist veterans who may no longer have educational funding available.
“If you don’t use the college benefit, you lose it. We would like to get the scholarship fully funded,” Moss said.
Moss said the goal is to keep doing this auction annually and maybe switch it up a bit later down the line.
“If it goes over well this year we would like to keep this going for the next five to 10 years and maybe do a different jersey every couple of years,” Moss said. “One of our ideas is honoring someone who has received a purple heart.”
Anyone who wishes to bid on a jersey has until Nov. 4 to do so on the online website.