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Bridgeport Stair Climb Challenge Raises $37K For Homeless Veterans

Nearly 200 supporters laced up their sneakers and climbed stadium stairs at the Step Up For the Brave Stadium Stair Climb Challenge on Saturday to raise funds for the Homes for the Brave organization.
Nearly 200 supporters laced up their sneakers and climbed stadium stairs at the Step Up For the Brave Stadium Stair Climb Challenge on Saturday to raise funds for the Homes for the Brave organization. Photo Credit: Contributed
Left to right, teachers Allyson DeRoin, Lisa Pesce and Erica Ghirardi dressed as Wonder Woman as they climbed. Pesce, whose husband is a veteran, was an award winner, climbing a total of 9,000 steps.
Left to right, teachers Allyson DeRoin, Lisa Pesce and Erica Ghirardi dressed as Wonder Woman as they climbed. Pesce, whose husband is a veteran, was an award winner, climbing a total of 9,000 steps. Photo Credit: Contributed
Climbers followed a course of 1,000 steps in the Ballpark at Harbor Yard stadium.
Climbers followed a course of 1,000 steps in the Ballpark at Harbor Yard stadium. Photo Credit: Contributed
Left to right, State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) showing support with Vince Santilli, CEO and Executive Director of Homes for the Brave.
Left to right, State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) showing support with Vince Santilli, CEO and Executive Director of Homes for the Brave. Photo Credit: Contributed
Fairfield Firefighters support Homes for the Brave,” said Fairfield Firefighter Assistant Chief George Gomola.  “We toured their facility and learned about what they do, we’re proud and grateful for what they do.”
Fairfield Firefighters support Homes for the Brave,” said Fairfield Firefighter Assistant Chief George Gomola. “We toured their facility and learned about what they do, we’re proud and grateful for what they do.” Photo Credit: Contributed
The firm Turner was a sponsor of the event, and members of the Turner company teamed up to participate as climbers.
The firm Turner was a sponsor of the event, and members of the Turner company teamed up to participate as climbers. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Nearly 200 veterans, fitness enthusiasts and supporters laced up their sneakers and climbed stadium stairs at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport to raise money for Homes for the Brave.

The third annual Step Up For The Brave Stadium Stair Climb Challenge raised almost $37,000 for the nonprofit organization, which provides housing, vocational training, and life skills coaching to homeless individuals, most of whom are veterans. Fundraising continues through the end of the month, with the top fundraising student and non-student individuals winning a trip to Las Vegas,  and top fundraising student and non-student teams winning a Deadlocked Escape Rooms adventure.

To make a donation to the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, click here .

“This event took a big step forward. We’re delighted with the turnout, the effort, the spirit and the support of the nearly 200 participants,” said Vince Santilli, CEO and Executive Director of Homes for the Brave. “We look forward to carrying on this tradition which enables us to serve our clients who are primarily Veterans.”

The morning began with the National Anthem sung by ‘Sarge,’ a US Army Veteran and HFTB alumnus who is now living independently. Chaz from 99.1 WPLR’s Chaz and AJ morning show was the event’s emcee.

“One trip to Homes for the Brave made me a supporter,” said Chaz. “What they do for Veterans is spectacular. It’s an honor to be a part of this event and see the community come together to help Veterans in need.”

Current Homes for the Brave residents attended the event, testifying to the organization’s impact. “When I got home I went down the wrong path,” said one resident who served in a submarine fleet in Washington state. “HFTB is great, they got me training, take me on job interviews, they helped me get my health in order and they’re helping me secure housing. They gave me the tools to come back.”

Collective Soul frontman and lead vocalist Ed Roland was present to sign autographs and take photos with fans. “It’s all about giving back to the military, that’s the ultimate goal. Giving back to them for giving us our freedom,” said Roland.

Lt. Colonel Sean Connolly, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs, participated as a climber. “Homes for the Brave is a huge partner. They’re all about service and excellence and providing services for the men and women who served,” he said.

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