July 30, 2012
HOUSTON - University of Houston student-athletes recently organized a collection of items to send to United States military troops stationed overseas.
The Student Athlete Advisory Committee, or SAAC, spearheaded by defensive end Zeke Riser organized the collection to provide some comfort items from home.
Members of SAAC have a mission to enhance the overall student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete welfare and fostering a positive student-athlete image.
For Riser, the committee's Public Relations Liaison and someone who has been around the military his entire life, the choice of how to make a difference was obvious.
"The idea came about when my brother-in-law was deployed to Afghanistan about six months ago," said Riser. "This was his third deployment, and I decided that I wanted to do something to help out."
Riser then contacted his sister and discovered they would be sending care packages to the United States Marine Corps Tiltrotor Squadron 365.
"Once that was taken care of," said Riser "I brought the issue to the attention of SAAC, and they were in full support of us helping out our troops."
Once the members of SAAC figured out what items they thought the squadron would enjoy, they divided the items up into the individual sports. Each sport got a different item, and then it was up to the athletes on those teams to spread the word. In all, the donations brought in a total of ten boxes of goods to be shipped overseas.
"The amount of goods brought in was well above what we anticipated, which is great," said Riser. "Our military does so much for us, so it was awesome to see the appreciation and gratitude from all of UH athletics."
For Riser, the support goes beyond just words. He currently has five members of his family that are currently serving in the military, and countless others, including his father, who have already given their time.
"If not for football, there is not a doubt in my mind that I would currently be serving my country with them," said Riser "I can't begin to explain how much the military means to me. I am so glad that my fellow Cougars joined in to help in showing our appreciation."