ITALY — In addition to the "Shop with a Hero" Program, there will be a pair of raffles for select prizes — one large and the other small — either held at or starting during Saturday's "Guns and Hoses" game at the Italy Softball Complex.

The small-prize raffle will be held during the seventh inning stretch of the softball game. Single tickets are $1 and group purchases of six can be made for $6.

"All of the money from the raffles goes to the same Shop with a Hero benefit," said Brad Elliot, a Precinct 2 Deputy Constable for Terry Nay and vice president of the "Shop with a Hero" board of directors. "We take students selected by Italy High School shopping during Christmas so that they can have a holiday like families in more fortunate situations. It's pretty powerful stuff watching their faces light up. All that is made possible by the kindness of complete strangers to them and the time and donations they give."

Prizes will include two Five-O Tactical custom Kydex holsters donated by Eric Thompson, a pair of Jandal strapless sandals donated by Plain Jane & Co of Waxahachie, a gift certificates from Mower Depot and Meat Sweats and three $20 food vouchers from Buffalo Wild Wings. Frisbee Automotive also donated two $60 Yeti Ramblers, Ray Don Mitchell donated a one-hour "Zoo on the Move" animal demonstration and Sandy Eubanks donated two custom pies of the winner's choosing.

There will even be autographed merchandise from Outlaw street racer David "Birdman" Jones in the small-prize raffle. Saturday will also be the start of ticket sales for the large-prize raffle.

First place large raffle winners will receive ATI Omni-Hybrid Maxx AR-15 semi-automatic 5.56x45-millimeter, .223-caliber Remington assault rifle and second place winners receive a Quantum Deer Feeder with a timer, battery and "varmint" cage. Third place will win an M&P Bodyguard 380 automatic pistol by Smith & Wesson and fourth place wins a YETI Tundra 35 Cooler.

"The cheapest retail value of any of those four prizes is $299," Elliott said. "Last year we sold about 550 tickets and all the money went to taking kids in the Italy community shopping and two scholarships to Italy High School seniors."

Hunter Ballard, who is currently studying Fire Science, and Brooke DeBorde, a recently graduated Lady Gladiator softball player, received $500 each last year. Ballard's scholarship was in honor of Greg Pickard, a fallen firefighter whose family lives in Italy.

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Marcus S. Marion, @MarcusMarionWNI

(469) 517-1456