WBUR

Halfway To 1 Million, N.H. Man Shoots Baskets For Veterans

During each free throw shooting session, Dave Cummings places this pair of sneakers out of bounds behind the basket. Cummings says they remind him of the members of the military who are away from their homes and families. (Doug Tribou/WBUR)

During each free throw shooting session, Dave Cummings places this pair of sneakers behind the basket. He says they remind him of the members of the military who are away from their families. (Doug Tribou/WBUR)

BOSTON — Dave Cummings started shooting foul shots on Veterans Day 2009. When I originally visited Cummings in January, Cummings had just made his 100,000th shot.

The Epsom, N.H., resident is planning to make No. 1 million on Veterans Day 2011. That’s an average of about 1,370 foul shots a day for two years.

On Thursday, Veterans Day, Cummings shot free throws aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum — a retired aircraft carrier in New York City.

After knocking down 100 shots, Cummings brought his total to 500,000. Cummings estimates that he makes 90 percent of his shots. The husband and father of three says after shooting every day for a year, he’s still excited about the second half of the project.

“It feels like we did it once and we can do it again,” Cummings said. “I think that my family is more committed to it, if anything. To hear from veterans and families of veterans and to hear from Americans all over the country who are just interested in supporting this cause and therefore supporting veterans, it’s been incredibly exciting. If anything, I’m more recharged than ever.”

Cummings calls his effort “Hoops For Heroes” and he’s also attempting to raise $1 million to support the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The fund’s most recent project was constructing a $60 million medical facility in Bethesda, Md., for servicemen and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Dave Cummings shooting his way to 1 million. (Doug Tribou/WBUR)

Dave Cummings shooting his way to 1 million. (Doug Tribou/WBUR)

The fund’s executive vice president, David Winters, says traumatic brain injuries are still something of a mystery to doctors.

“We’re researching the best ways to find, diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury,” Winters said, “so that our men and women who are serving now who are injured won’t have a continuing injury that affects them days, months, years down the road.”

Cummings presented the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund with a check for $10,000 on Thursday, bringing his fundraising total to just under $28,000.

Cummings is planning to increase his public shooting appearances in the coming year and says he believes as the shot total gets larger, the fundraising will catch up.

“I never looked at this like for every shot we needed to raise a dollar,” Cummings said. “I thought of this as a second half fundraiser or a fourth quarter fundraiser. It’ll gain momentum in the second half and it will gain credibility as the number of foul shots gets up there.”

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