Brighton, Howell volleyball players compete in fundraiser to aid military

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There were a few more obstacles this season for Howell volleyball coach Jayne Williams when it came to organizing tonight’s military-themed fundraiser.

First, the schedule. The Highlanders and Brighton volleyball squads who played twice a season in the KLAA West and in the KVC, meet only once in 2017 under the new schedule formulated when the league lost 10 schools last spring.

“It’s before school starts, so we haven’t been able to get many students involved,” Williams said. “It was hard with the way the league is set up now to make any switches.”

In an effort to get more student involvement, tonight’s match has been moved up to 5:30 p.m., and Howell students can get into the football game for free with a volleyball ticket stub.

The game is a fundraiser for Stiggy’s Dogs, which trains shelter dogs to be service dogs for veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and The Fallen & Wounded Soldiers Fund, which is based in Ann Arbor. It provides support for Michigan-based soldiers and their families.

It’s the fourth year in a row the programs have come together for the fundraiser. It was started by Williams and former Brighton coach Shelley Sims, who resigned after last season.

“We’re hoping to reach $10,000 in donations over the four years we’ve been doing this,” Williams said. “We’re trying to support our military, and it’s a simple way, but a way to say thank you to our soldiers and that we recognize what they do.”

After player introductions and before the game, players from each team will go into the stands to collect donations for their team’s charity.

T-shirts will also be on sale, for $15, with $9 going to the FWSF and Stiggy’s Dogs.

It’s the first year that new Brighton coach Stephanie Oliver will be involved.

“It will be difficult without Shelley on the bench,” Williams said of her friend, “but it’s an opportunity for Stephanie and I to build this from here.”