March 5, 2015
Hokies Helping Heroes initiative a huge success
Football program receives more than $38,000 in pledges, all of which goes to Lone Survivor Foundation

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech football program participated in a weightlifting challenge as part of a “Hokies Helping Heroes” initiative, and the program received more than $38,000 in pledges, all of which goes to The Lone Survivor Foundation.

The Hokies Helping Heroes initiative allowed fans to pick a player and then pledge a certain amount of money per pound lifted by that player in the bench press during the team’s winter testing. If a fan pledged 50 cents per pound for a particular player and that player lifted 420 pounds in the bench press (one repetition), then the fan would owe $210, all of which would go to the Lone Survivor Foundation.

The Lone Survivor Foundation is an organization founded by retired U.S. Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell and whose mission is to restore, empower and renew hope for U.S. combat service members and their families. The Foundation does this by providing educational, therapeutic and wellness opportunities for combat service members and their families.

Dr. Mike Gentry, Tech’s associate AD for athletic performance, and his staff conducted the testing throughout the week and oversaw testing in the bench press on Tuesday. The numbers were tabulated, and the pledges totaled more than $38,000. Exactly 338 people made pledges, with another 22 agreeing to a flat donation to the charity. All those who pledged at least $75 receive a Tech strength and conditioning T-shirt, with a slogan “Never quit on those who never quit on us!”

“I’m humbled and shocked and happy,” Gentry said. “I didn’t know what to expect. Somewhere in my head, I thought if we could get to $10,000, that would be great. I’m just really pleased and thankful.”

Defensive lineman Luther Maddy led all players with a 450-pound bench press. Andrew Williams (445), Augie Conte (440), Wyatt Teller (430) and Alston Smith (405) followed him.

“We all thought it was a great cause,” Maddy said. “I love the bench press, and what a great opportunity to help people out by doing something I love to do, which is benching.”

Tech opens its 2015 football season on Labor Day, Sept. 7, against defending national champion Ohio State.

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