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Busch's 'Saves for SEALs' aids families of fallen Navy special-ops soldiers

Now in its fifth year, program has distributed nearly $100,000 in narrowly-targeted assistance to families of injured or fallen SEAL soldiers

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It is not unusual for professional athletes to become involved in charity efforts - in fact, most clubs have charitable arms that rely upon player participation to grease the wheels. It's rarer, though, for an athlete to champion a cause outside the club's efforts, to give more of his time and energy than the contract requires, just because they believe they can make a difference.

It is in this second category, the 'above and beyond' group, that Chicago Fire keeper Jon Busch's efforts to raise money for the Navy SEALBusch s Foundation fall. Now in its fifth year, Busch's "Saves for SEALs" fundraising program has previously directed over $100,000 of donations toward the families of fallen Navy special-ops soldiers. And now he needs your help to keep it going.

On Wednesday, June 10th, Busch dropped in at the Section 8 Independent Supporters' Association (ISA) meeting to seek the help of Chicago Fire's supporters in his fundraising efforts. Busch appealed to the Chicago Fire fan base to help him in his efforts to support the needs of Navy SEALs, their families, and other specialized Navy SEAL-specific issues. Along with the ISA members present, Busch brainstormed different ways that he could work with the community to raise money. Challenges to donate per a goal saved, tee-shirts, player gear auctions, group Match day events, fundraising tournaments, and 'Saves for SEALs' scarves were all suggestions brought up.

Busch and the ISA were in agreement that there was plenty of opportunities to work together on this charity as the season progresses. "We are open to ideas and willing to work with Jon." said ISA chair Dan Martin. (But, the point of any future collaborations will be to get donations, you, gentle reader, can get ahead of the curve by giving now.)

Save's for Seals is not a new project for Busch. The 38-year-old Queens, NY native began supporting Navy SEALs issues due to a direct link to a familial link to the Special Forces wing of the Navy. Busch began his project while playing as a keeper in San Jose for the Earthquakes. The fans and the club in San Jose worked with Busch on several initiatives, such as a fundraiser where Busch would donate $50 per a save, the auctioning off of specially made (camouflage) keepers gloves, and (during one match) selling an entire section of the stadium in San Jose to the benefit of Saves for SEALs. Last season, Saves for Seals raised over $29,000 for the Navy SEAL Foundation and the organization hopes to strive for similar excellence in Chicago this season.

Busch's commitment to his chosen cause is exceptional. All donations to Saves for SEALs go to the Navy SEAL Foundation; however, Busch often plays a more specific role in how donations are allocated. If he wishes to target funds to a particular cause - such as for gifts for the grieving family of a SEAL or as support for a disabled Navy SEAL veteran, he can direct the donations to a specific cause. This flexibility makes his Saves for SEALs program a highly personalized fundraising campaign.

There is no need to wait for the upcoming campaign supported by the ISA to get involved with this terrific organization. Saves for Seals is a verified 501 (c) 3 non-profit and donations can be made any time here. To better follow this terrific organization's exploits, Busch recommends following his sponsor, HPG Goalkeeping, on Twitter.

Hot Time applauds Jon Busch's personal campaign to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation. Navy SEALs, as an elite and confidential military organization, are often forgotten by common charity organizations, so Busch's commitment to the heroes who serve this specialized branch of the military is admirable. Here at Hot Time, we will keep the community posted on any events or fundraisers involving Saves for SEALs and the ISA.