Hoops for Heroes tournament connects veterans with job opportunities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Hornets had the night off, but their homecourt, the Spectrum Center, hosted military veterans for a friendly 5-on-5 basketball tournament.

The Hoops for Heroes event helps veterans get much-needed help as they transition to civilian life.

The tournament supports Veterans Bridge Home who connects veterans to job opportunities and resources once they transition to civilian life.

"When you get out of the military, you have to redefine what your new sense of purpose is,” said Blake Bourne, executive director for Veterans Bridge Home. “You have to redefine the unit you're a part of."

Joe Pollard, who left the military the same time as his wife, knows the challenges of life after the military.

“We faced many challenges, similar to those many are facing today, so we're very happy to be able to help an organization whose sole mission is to help others do the same thing,” Pollard said.

Eight companies in the Charlotte area were a part of the tournament, bringing employees who both are veterans and nonveterans.

Julie O'Hara-Harvey, who traded in her army boots years ago, wants to raise awareness for homeless veterans.

“I think it's so important to give back and don't forget about those that are still our comrades,” said O’Hara-Harvey, who now works at Wells Fargo.

Each participant in the tournament received tickets to the Hornets game next Sunday, the team’s military appreciation night.