Local eighth grade girls traveling basketball teams donates proceeds from a local tournament to area families.

Giving back is a life lesson that can and should be taught and reinforced at all stages of life. And giving back to those in your community, is a great way to see hard work in action.

The Chillicothe Hornets eighth grade girls traveling basketball team not only play hard, but also work hard to give back to local families, and it is an added bonus when it is benefiting one of their own.

In the last few weeks, the team has donated $10,000 to Howlie Lynch and $2,000 to JW Heil, two area residents affected by cancer. Lynch’s daughter is a member of the basketball team as is Heil’s cousin, Jessica Reeter.

Jason Montgomery, coach of the team, said the recent Chillicothe Hoops Tournament raised enough money for the team to be able to donate to these two local families.

The tournament, Montgomery said, brought 57 teams to Chillicothe and 18 of them stayed in local hotels, making it a win-win for everyone.

“Not only did the money raised from the tournament go to local families but the City of Chillicothe benefited too.”

Proceeds from the tournament entry fees and admission to the tournament allowed for the donations, Montgomery noted this was the third year for the event.

For the last two years part of the proceeds from the tournament, held at Bishop Hogan Memorial School have gone to JW Heil, the son of Tony and Beth Heil of Carrollton. Heil is the nephew of Julie Reeter, who Montgomery says does scorekeeping for the Hornets.

Heil was three years old when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which is the second most common solid tumor in childhood affecting about 7 percent of all children with cancer.

Heil’s grandmother, Jeanne Hinkebein said he receives treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering, a top ranked cancer treatment center in New York City.

“Last year, he was part of a study that gave him seven shots over the course of the year,” Hinkebein said. “It is a vaccine type program which trains his body to fight cancer. He has had very good results, as have most of the children in the study.”

Heil’s cancer is now in remission, though he returns to Sloan Kettering in into the next few months for additional testing. The funds donated to his family help offset the cost of travel to and from New York City.

A $10,000 check was donated to the Howlie Lynch family during Senior Night at Trenton High School’s basketball game on Feb. 14. Chandler Lynch, Howlie's daughter is one of eight members of the traveling basketball team.

“It was a very emotional deal, Montgomery said. “The families both are very appreciative , and we are just glad to be able to give back as a team.”

Montgomery said the team, which has been playing together for four years, travels to Nebraska, Iowa and across Missouri playing competitive basketball.

“We just want to play some basketball,” he said “And this is a good way to do it, it is a lot of work but the girls are dedicated and we all enjoy it.”

The team is made up of eighth grade girls; six from Chillicothe, one from Norbern and one from Mericer.