Football Players Donate September 11 Fundraising to Police and Fire

Football Players Donate September 11 Fundraising to Police and Fire
Posted on 11/22/2021

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The Fenton High School football team fundraised $12,200 as part of its September 11, 2001 Remembrance Program and its two captains presented checks to Bensenville and Wood Dale first responders during the November 17 Fenton Board of Education meeting.

This is a photo of Fenton 100's School Board with first responders from Bensenville and Wood Dale

Fenton’s memorial ceremony took place prior to the September 10, 2021 home game against East Aurora High School. It included active and retired members of the military, including Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Yantis, who was working in the Pentagon the day of the attack. Retired and active first responders also lined the football field and participated in a bell ringing ceremony.

The fundraising efforts include but are not limited to:
  • A $5,000 Donation from the Chicago Bears
  • Proceeds from the Concessions Stand
  • Memorial T-Shirt Sales, and
  • Nike Corp.

This is a photo of football player Zane Benayad presenting his checks to Wood Dale officials.

Bison football player Zane Benayad presented a $3,050 check to City of Wood Dale Police Chief Greg Vesta and a $3,050 check to Chief James Burke and Deputy Chief Pat Johl of the Wood Dale Fire Protection District. While at the podium, Zane said the following:

“20 years ago, on September 11, 2001, 2,996 lives were lost during the terrorist attacks and 415 of those lives lost were first responders. The events of 9/11 had an everlasting effect on the nation, not only for those who lived through it but for generations to come. The Class of 2022 is one of the first classes to consist of an entire student body not yet born when the attacks occurred. Despite this, it’s important to never forget the events that took place that fateful morning but also never forget the risk first responders face every day. We are truly thankful for all the work that goes into protecting our community and homes. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all each and every day.”

This is a photo of  football player Richard Chavez presenting his checks to Bensenville officials.

Fenton football player Richard Chavez presented a $3,050 check to Bensenville Village Manager Evan Summers and Police Chief Dan Schultz, as well as a $3,050 check to Battalion Chief Angel Reyes of the Bensenville Fire Protection District. While at the podium, Richard said the following:

“I don’t know what it’s like being a police officer, a firefighter, or a paramedic. But I know it’s more than just making traffic stops, staying up late nights, and handling small disputes. The bravery and selflessness exhibited by first responders on a daily basis for the residents of Bensenville, Wood Dale, and all communities across the United States of America is truly inspiring and heroic. These men and women wake up each day not knowing what the day will entail or what is awaiting on the other side of that phone call. Thank you and your families for the sacrifice you make daily for the residents being served. In the climate we are currently living in today, people forget first responders are ordinary citizens that have feelings and fears. However, first responders suppress those feelings and fears for the betterment of society. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you on behalf of everyone who lives in the Village of Bensenville and the City of Wood Dale. Thank you for everything you have done, and for everything you will do. We send our prayers to your comrade and I pray God bless him, his family, and all first responders with his good grace.”

Before the audience full of football players and first responders could depart, Principal Sam Bentsen also chose to recognize Head Football Coach Matthew Lynch for his time and energy in organizing the memorial program.

“Honestly, you guys have no idea how much time this man put into this program,” Principal Bentsen told the school board. “Hours and hours of meticulous planning. Meetings where he told us EXACTLY how it had to be done. It was an incredible program and it was his vision from the beginning. I just want to thank him. We’re fortunate to have Matt -- as a teacher, as a coach, as a mentor. I think he deserves a standing ovation.”

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Coach Lynch previously worked in the insurance business. He told the school board that his office in downtown Chicago neighbored a Secret Service office and he was alarmed to see them scrambling into action, as well as the F-16 fighter planes he could see racing out of nearby O’Hare International Airport.

“I didn’t know O’Hare had F-16s. And when they took off, they took off!” Coach Lynch explained.

The September 11 ceremony was “the least we could do,” according to Lynch, who said first responders leave their houses every day never knowing if they’ll return home.

Coach Lynch thanked the School Board for their support in his efforts to mentor student athletes. He shrugged off Principal Bentsen’s comments about “hours of meticulous planning.”

“I truly believe that it’s my duty as an educator and someone being paid by taxpayer dollars to give everything I possibly can to these kids and make sure they get an experience they can take with them the rest of their lives,” Coach Lynch concluded.

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