A local man's love of paintball has driven him to build a for-charity-only course on a Greenwood farm.
Dave Bosco, a career firefighter with the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department and a volunteer for the Greenwood Fire Company, has spent the last nine months building a 2,200-square-foot paintball course on Long Meadow Farm. The private farm is owned by Bosco's girlfriend Amy Robb, a Sussex County paramedic, and her family.
Bosco, Robb and countless volunteers have dedicated numerous man-hours and funding to the course, but it's not a business venture. All proceeds collected from entry fees will be donated to Wounded Warrior Project, which supports soldiers physically injured and psychologically traumatized in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"There are a lot of people out there who need Wounded Warrior Project, so to raise money for that type of cause is something we want to do," Bosco said, adding he's been blown away by the support he's received. "Some of the volunteers are firefighters and some of them are just guys who play paintball. When you plan a charity event, it's amazing how many people give their time without charging for it."
Adam Silva, chief development officer for Wounded Warrior Project, said the organization's goal is to meet the changing needs of injured service members with 19 unique programs and services.
"Individual community events [like Bosco's] help raise awareness and funds that contribute to our mission of honoring and empowering Wounded Warriors," Silva said.
According to the organization's website, www.woundedwarriorproject.com, their mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors.
"WWP's purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs," the website states.
Bosco said many of the charities he researched keep a considerable amount of donations to cover their in-house costs.
"In a lot of charities, if you donate $1, they keep 50 cents for themselves or for administrative fees," he said. "Wounded Warrior actually uses 90 cents of every dollar for their cause."
The course, which is located in a wooded area on the farm, is equipped to handle two teams of 10 players each. There are two forts, one each located at the north and south ends of the course. In front of each fort is a team flag and a center flag is located in the between the forts. There are 50 large wire spools on the course that are meant for use as shields or bunkers. Bosco said Delaware Electric Cooperative graciously sold him the spools for 50 cents each. There are emergency access paths located throughout the course where emergency response personnel will be stationed during events.
Page 2 of 2 - "We're going to have ambulances here just in case someone twists an ankle or something like that," Bosco said.
The course, Bosco said, is up to par.
"I built all of this and made sure everything was up to standard before I even considered holding events," he said. "Everything in the course is [located] where it is for a reason, and it's been tested. We probably spent $1,200 on paintballs just to do testing."
The course will not hold regular hours, but will only be opened for special events. The first event will be the 2013 Delaware Fire & EMS Paintball Challenge on Oct. 26-27. Bosco is signing on up to 16 teams, whose team captains must be fire and emergency response personnel members. Games will last 45 minutes each. Entry costs $20 per person, which includes a rental marker, mask, air and the first 200 paintballs. For insurance reasons, paintballs must be purchased at the event. Sponsors are needed for the event.
Bosco is also planning an event for March 2014 in which teams will be made up entirely of law enforcement members. The proceeds from that event will also go to the Wounded Warrior Project.