(WIS) - Ahead of Independence Day, the Columbia Fireflies announced a campaign to retire the medical debt of veterans across South Carolina.
More than 700 veteran families have a combined $800,000 in medical debt in South Carolina. The team and its fans will have the opportunity to help in this community-wide effort.
"Columbia is known as the 'Most Military Friendly Community in America' for many reasons," said Fireflies team president John Katz. "Every American can appreciate the sacrifices our military heroes have made, and now we have an opportunity to pay it forward."
The kickoff for the campaign will begin on July 4, as the Fireflies celebrate Independence Day at Spirit Communications Park. Specially-designed red, white and blue jerseys, first worn by the team on Fort Jackson Night, will be auctioned off during the game.
100% of the proceeds from the auction will benefit South Carolina veterans in need.
RIP Medical Debt, a nationally-recognized nonprofit, was established in 2014 to locate, purchase and forgive unpaid and unpayable medical debt. Our campaign, which will be funded by events such as the jersey auction, will provide RIP Medical Debt the funds to buy South Carolina veteran medical debt and abolish it, with no strings attached for the beneficiaries.
This program provides debt relief for those in our military community that need it most. To qualify, veteran medical debt has been identified for people who meet the following criteria: 1) people who make less than 2x the Federal poverty level; 2) people with financial hardship – a debt that is 5% or more of their annual income; and 3) people who are insolvent.
In addition to the jersey auction on July 4th, fans will have additional opportunities to give:
On July 4 – July 9, The Fireflies will be holding a "Text to Give" campaign at Spirit Communications Park during the week of Independence Day, where fans will have the opportunity to text a donation.
Additional opportunities will be announced later this season.
Tickets for the July 4th Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Extravaganza are on sale now. Visit FirefliesTickets.com, the Spirit Communications Park ticket office, or call (803) 726-4487 for more information.