PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–On CBS3 this Saturday at noon, the reigning national champions will take part in a special basketball tournament, and Chloe McHugh will be there.
“I’m here because of the Families of Freedom Foundation,” said McHugh. “And Villanova basketball is playing in the ‘Never Forget Tribute Classic”.
This college hoops doubleheader from the Prudential Center in North Jersey supports the Families of Freedom, a scholarship fund established to provide education assistance to dependents of people killed or disabled in the September 11th attacks.
Two families involved have ties to Villanova and were invited to attend practice with the champs.
Paul Giorgetti lost his father Steven in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Because of the scholarship, he and sister Alexa were able to attend Nova.
“Just the fund in general is a great organization that has helped a lot of us get to where we want to be,” said Giorgetti, a 2012 Villanova graduate. “Without it, I don’t know where I’d be.”
The fund, which has given out over $100 million in scholarships since 2001, helped Chloe get into Villanova’s nursing program. Her father, Dennis, was killed in the attacks while working with the FDNY.
“They’ve really helped me and my family out a lot, offsetting the cost of my college tuition and making Villanova more affordable and more possible for me to attend.”
Villanova head coach Jay Wright spent time with the families ahead of Saturday’s matchup with number 22 Notre Dame. Wright says the meeting put in focus how monumental the tragedy was, especially for his players who were too young to understand.
“It hit me when I asked our guys how old they were – that it wasn’t as big to them,” said Wright, who lost a friend and neighbor in the 9/11 attacks.
“They were like four years old, so it gave us a good chance to talk about it as a team.”
Paul now follows in his fathers footsteps.
“I actually work at my dad’s old firm, March McLennan, in New York. And my sister’s a senior here – she’ll be graduating in May.”
And he’s done so with a little help from the Families of Freedom.