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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team is starting 2010 off right, already reaching one of the team’s goals before regular-season play even begins. The squad, which was fourth among Ohio State athletic teams last year with 389 community service hours, has already surpassed its goal of 500 hours for 2009-10 before the end of January.

 “Community service is something we value highly,” senior goalie and tri-captain Brandon Freeman said. “We wanted to get it done before the season started. We’re going to keep going but it’s great to already be above the goal we set for ourselves.”

Assistant coach Dave Dobbins organizes the team’s community service efforts.

“Five hundred hours was one of our goals this year,” Dobbins said. “We wanted each of our guys to get 10 hours and as a team we wanted to get 500. We’re at almost 515 hours already. The guys are still working hard. They’ve helped promote literacy, worked at the Ronald McDonald House, helped with landscaping around campus. There are a lot of things our guys have done and have gotten involved with.”

The Buckeyes helped out WWII vets with the “WWI Veteran Honor Flight Reunion” which is a service that flies veterans to Washington D.C. to visit their memorials. The team was able to talk to the veterans as they helped assist them to and from their journey.

In January, the program held a coaches clinic and a mini-camp on specialty positions. Proceeds from the events, which reached more than $5,000, went to a fund to help Jack McGetrick, the head coach at Bellarmine University who is currently battling prostate cancer.

The 46-man roster has participated in other events throughout the year, including work with the 2nd and 7 Foundation reading to elementary students, work at the Ronald McDonald House, volunteering at the hemophilia walk, working in the garden at Chadwick Arboretum on the Ohio State campus.

The Buckeyes open their season next Saturday, Feb. 13, when they host Villanova at 1 p.m. on the indoor field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. As part of Ohio State’s Military Appreciation Week there will be boxes set up for fans to donate food, hygiene and entertainment items that will be sent to the troops. For a complete list of items that can be donated, visit OhioStateBuckeyes.com. The men’s lacrosse is scheduled to go to Operation Buckeye twice this month to package items to send to the troops overseas.