Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA Athletics program to benefit military veterans

March 20, 2012 - Shirley Luna
Stephen F. Austin State University student Andy Collins recently tried out caps for sale locally that benefit Operation Hat Trick, a national program created at the University of New Hampshire to memorialize Nate Hardy and Mike Koch, two U.S. Navy SEALs who died in Iraq in 2008. SFA fans who purchase officially licensed SFA caps with the Operation Hat Trick logo support the university and American military veterans by generating royalties to support SFA and the Veteran's Administration General Post Fund.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University is participating in Operation Hat Trick, a national program created at the University of New Hampshire to memorialize Nate Hardy and Mike Koch, two U.S. Navy SEALs who died in Iraq in 2008. The original initiative focused on producing collegiate caps for soldiers who suffered head injuries. Now SFA fans who purchase officially licensed SFA caps with the Operation Hat Trick logo support the university and American military veterans by generating royalties to support SFA and the Veteran's Administration General Post Fund.

This focus and the New Hampshire program's deep roots in ice hockey provided the inspiration for the Operation Hat Trick name.

"In ice hockey, if a player scores three goals in a game, it is referred to as a hat trick," said John Branch, SFA assistant athletics director. "One of the Navy SEALS who died is the son of a professor at New Hampshire, one of the top ice hockey schools in the country."

The OHT initiative has evolved into a national program with participation by more than 26 universities throughout the country and a new objective of raising funds for the VA General Post Fund.

"The primary objective for the OHT program moving forward is to build support and funds for our soldiers and veterans seeking medical treatment in VA medical centers." said Dot Sheehan, founder and director of OHT.

The caps are produced under license by '47 Brand, one of the country's leading collegiate headwear manufacturers. In the initial product roll out, '47 Brand is offering an adjustable camouflage version with SFA's Angry Axe on the front. The SFA cap is now available for sale at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in the Baker Pattillo Student Center.

"We are honored to participate in the OHT program and believe SFA fans will want to support the program by buying SFA co-branded caps," Branch said. "We know our fans and alumni love SFA and appreciate our military, and this program allows them to support both at the same time."

For more information, contact Branch at (936) 468-3501.