The Winston-Salem Dash are proud to announce that former Wake Forest multi-sports star and NBA Champion Rusty LaRue is the team’s Service Through Sports Award winner and Veterans Helping Veterans Heal is the 2016 Charity Partner. The Dash will honor LaRue during Friday’s 7pm game against the Salem Red Sox at BB&T Ballpark, while VHVH will accept its award before Saturday’s 6:30pm contest, also against Salem.
LaRue is one of the most decorated athletes in Wake Forest University history. A four-year letterwinner at quarterback, LaRue finished his football career with 5,016 career passing yards, the fifth-highest total in school history. As a basketball player, he led the Demon Deacons to the NCAA Tournament four consecutive seasons from 1993-96. He was inducted into the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
After graduating, the Greensboro native played professional basketball both oversees and in the NBA, spending time with the Chicago Bulls (1997-99), Utah Jazz (2002) and Golden State Warriors (2004). LaRue won a NBA championship ring with the Bulls in 1998. A stint as an assistant for the Demon Deacons men’s basketball team preceded his current run as the head coach at West Forsyth High School.
LaRue’s impact in the community stretches well beyond his athletic prowess. The Rusty LaRue Golf Classic has raised money for the Centers for Exceptional Children for almost two decades. The 18th installment of this popular tournament will take place later this summer.
“Rusty’s success as an athlete provided him with a unique opportunity to help others, and he has done just that,” Dash President Geoff Lassiter said. “His Golf Classic is one of the many examples of him positively affecting our community. We are so fortunate that he calls Winston-Salem home, and it was an easy choice to award him with this year’s Service Through Sports Award.”
LaRue joins a prestigious list of past Service Through Sports Award winners:
- 2010: Clarence “Big House” Gaines, the late Winston-Salem State University men’s basketball coach
- 2011: Tom Walker, Wake Forest University’s baseball head coach
- 2012: Bob and Lisa Gfeller, creators of the Matthew Gfeller Foundation
- 2013: Rich Brenner, the late sportscaster at Fox 8 (WGHP-TV)
- 2014: Howard West, longtime high school boys basketball coach
- 2015: Lenox Rawlings, three-time North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year
Veterans Helping Veterans Heal, a non-profit entity owned and managed by the North Carolina Housing Foundation (NCHF), operates a 24-bed extended-term housing program in Winston-Salem for veterans battling homelessness to ultimately transition into permanent housing and independence. This year, VHVH Works established a relationship with the Dash to supply food service staff at BB&T Ballpark. More information about the non-profit organization is available HERE.
“We are honored by this privilege and opportunity,” said Brian Hahne, Director of Operations for Veterans Helping Veterans Heal. “It’s always a privilege for these veterans to be in a situation where they are honored for where they’re going, rather than where they’ve been.”
The Dash’s Charity Partner benefits from the proceeds of the club’s Commemorative Brick Program, through which fans can purchase engraved bricks that are installed outside of BB&T Ballpark’s main gates beyond right-center field.
VHVH will also receive deliverables equivalent to a Dominant-level partner to spread its message to Dash fans all season long. Here is a list of the Dash’s past charity partners:
- 2010: Brenner Children’s Hospital
- 2011: Centers for Exceptional Children
- 2012: Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem
- 2013: Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County
- 2014: Senior Services
- 2015: The Shalom Project of Winston-Salem
The Dash open a four-game series with the Salem Red Sox on Thursday at 7pm from BB&T Ballpark. It’s a Lowes Foods Thirsty Thursday, with select beers just $1 through the seventh inning. The Dash will also celebrate Cinco de Mayo with $1 nachos until first pitch. The Foothills Brew Pen will open at 5:05pm, 55 minutes earlier than normal, to start the celebration early.