For third year, UArizona honored for supporting local vets

UArizona students model Operation Hat Trick merchandise.

From left: UArizona students Victor Chiquete, Jaye Ferrone and Kathy Nunez model Operation Hat Trick merchandise.

For the third time, the University of Arizona earned the Excellence in Service Award from Operation Hat Trick, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting wounded U.S. combat veterans. The university was recognized for its efforts to support military service members and veterans through the sale of hats, shirts and other gear featuring military-style designs.

In recognition of UArizona's effort, Operation Hat Trick has donated $40,000 in the university's name to the Tucson Fisher House, which provides free housing to the families of military members who are in the hospital.

"I'm honored the University of Arizona was selected as this year's OHT Excellence in Service Award winner. Being able to donate $40,000 to the Tucson Fisher house and support our local community is really gratifying," said Alixe Holcomb, UArizona director of trademarks and licensing. "As a university, we are proud to support our local veterans and active-duty service members and determined to make this a program that our community can count on and wants to support every year."

Holcomb said the university sold more than $85,000 in Operation Hat Trick merchandise since November. Royalties from those sales went to Operation Hat Trick, which distributes the money to charities on behalf of the schools that participate in the program.

Operation Hat Trick founder, president and CEO Dot Sheehan presented the award April 27 at the Collegiate Licensing Company Licensing Seminar in Atlanta.

"I am so very proud of what Arizona has done to support Operation Hat Trick and veterans who have been wounded, and are now recovering from invisible and visible injuries," Sheehan said. "Over the past several years, the university has shown not only a commitment to support OHT but also a commitment to support their local community, which is so critical. We at OHT are honored and proud to partner with Arizona. "

Other finalists included Western Michigan University, Clemson, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.

Sheehan founded Operation Hat Trick in New Hampshire in 2008, and the organization went national in 2012. The organization's mission is to support the recovery of wounded service members and veterans through merchandise sales.

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