Siena Athletics and Northeastern Fine Jewelry partner to pay it forward with special silent auction to benefit Wounded Warrior Project on behalf of Sand Creek Middle School student

LOUDONVILLE, NY – Payton Rundell, a seventh-grade student at Sand Creek Middle School and high scorer in this season’s Northeastern Fine Jewelry Shooting Stars contest, has opted to donate the $240 gift card she won during the preliminary round to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project. The Shooting Stars competition, sponsored by Northeastern Fine Jewelry and Simon G., was held during each Siena men’s basketball regular season home game at MVP Arena.

Inspired by Rundell’s charitable act, Northeastern Fine Jewelry doubled the value of the gift card to underwrite a stunning sterling silver and pearl bracelet that fans can bid on during a silent auction at the final Siena men’s basketball home game this Thursday, March 2, to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

“When we heard what this young lady had planned to do with her winnings, we were amazed by her generosity,” said Ray Bleser, owner of Northeastern Fine Jewelry. “Payton displays a maturity beyond her years. Siena Athletics then approached us with a terrific idea to convert her gift card into a piece of jewelry to use as a fundraiser. We are appreciative of Siena for helping take this act of altruism to the next level through their creativity and by hosting this silent auction.”

“Siena first wants to acknowledge Payton’s incredibly generous spirit and we appreciate her being a part of the Siena Saints community. We will all be rooting for her this Thursday when she takes her shot from center court to win a $10,000 Northeastern Fine Jewelry gift card,” said Siena College Vice President and Director of Athletics John D’Argenio. “This initiative is a great example of the creative ways we can collaborate with longstanding and loyal partners like Northeastern Fine Jewelry and Van Wagner to benefit the greater good of the community.”

Founded in 2003, the Wounded Warrior Project initially provided simple care and comfort to the nation’s wounded service members. However, since its inception, the nonprofit organization has significantly evolved and is now focused on delivering mental health services, career counseling, long-term rehabilitative care and other advocacy efforts to returning soldiers and their families.

“There are many people who need things and it’s good to help when you can. I think it’s more important to take something from myself to help others,” explained Payton, whose family has no ties to the military. “The people who serve our country help us with our freedoms; they risk their lives every day.”

Rundell shot her way into the final round during Siena’s home game on Sunday, Feb. 12 when the diminutive 12-year-old Saints fan sank hoop after hoop in 45 seconds, racking up 240 points and netting this season’s Northeastern Fine Jewelry Shooting Stars’ highest score.

That distinction earned Rundell a chance to win a $10,000 gift card from Northeastern Fine Jewelry’s Simon G. Collection during this Thursday’s final regular season men’s home game against Manhattan. All eyes will be on Rundell as she attempts to sink a single shot from center court.

During Thursday’s game, the Saints will host a silent auction for the sterling silver and pearl bracelet. All revenue generated from the auction will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Fans may also bid online or make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project via the following link: go.charityauctionstoday.com/bid/1628.

Tickets to Thursday’s 7 p.m. Senior Night match-up against Manhattan can be purchased by contacting the Siena Fan Relations Management Center at (518) 487-2202, online at sienasaints.com/tickets, or by e-mail at [email protected]. Festivities for Senior Night will get underway at 6:45 p.m.

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