Omega Delta Sigma, a fraternity on campus for veteran men and women, will host the Cornhole Challenge Tournament this Saturday at Swiggs to help military veterans in the Honor Flight Network.
The network is devoted to taking veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials dedicated to honor their military service.
Vince Mele, a member of Omega Delta Sigma, served in the California Army National Guard for 8 ½ years. He served two tours in Iraq in 2008 and 2009.
“I hope that people understand that a lot of people care about these vets and want to see them go to Washington, D.C., before they die,” Mele said. “An estimated 640 veterans die each day. Most have not had a chance to get to Washington, let alone get to the memorials.”
Brenden Alfheim is the president of the fraternity and has been a member for two years.
Alfheim served five years in the Army as a combat medic and served two tours in Afghanistan. He was released from military service in February of 2011.
“Omega Delta Sigma helps veteran men and women acclimate to college life,” Alfheim said. “The people in the fraternity share the same life experiences. This commonality gives them a good solid ground when they start college.”
Alfheim describes coming up with the tournament idea as something that happened naturally. The tournament came together with one cornhole set leading to another.
“One of our brothers made us a cornhole set for Bulldog tailgates,” Alfheim said. “We started playing, and it became a thing we did at our tailgates. Swiggs has a cornhole set outside. One of our brothers knows the owner of Swiggs.”
“Our biggest emphasis is that it’s not just any fundraiser at any time,” Alfheim said. “It’s very specific. We are honoring and showing respect for veterans, and the tournament is being put on by a veteran group for veterans.”
This is Omega Delta Sigma’s first event dedicated to helping the Honor Flight Network. The goal is to help veterans in any way possible.
“We want to help give them the opportunity to send the veterans to Washington,” Alfheim said. “To give the veterans a chance to see their memorial for military brothers that have fallen. That’s why we wanted to do it, to give them a chance that they would not have without the Honor Flight Network.
“We are hoping for a big student presence. We’d like to see the students showing their support for their classmate veterans. We’d like locals to help support us.”
It costs $20 per team and $10 an individual to participate in the tournament. To register, submit a team or individual name through a Paypal link on Omega Delta Sigma’s Facebook page. Late registration will begin at Swiggs at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and will end at 1 p.m.
The tournament is open to the public. Contestants will receive a discount on beer. There will be a table to accept donations at Swiggs.
“It’s just going to be a good time before the Fresno State game,” Alfheim said. “After some friendly competition, we get to watch the Bulldogs play. It can’t get any better than that.”