By Anthony D. Ávila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, February 25, 2005
A UA student has taken tsunami relief fundraising into his own hands, and tomorrow hopes to raise $5,000 for victims through a paintball competition he has helped organize.
Chuong Tran, an electrical engineering sophomore and avid paintballer, said he and his father Thai Tran have organized a paintball tournament all day tomorrow to raise money for victims of the tsunami that devastated southeast Asia two months ago.
The Trans originally proposed a goal to raise $20,000 to be donated to the Red Cross, but had to revise their goal to be more realistic, said Thai Tran, an IBM Corp. employee.
"At first, we were being overly optimistic," Thai Tran said. "If we raise $5,000 we'll be in a good position."
The tournament will be held at Sudden Impact Paintball Field, near Interstate 10 and West Tangerine Road from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tran said.
Registration of the tournament officially closed yesterday, but people do not have to be registered to show up and play in the open class division, said Erique Martinez, salesman at Paintball Headquarters, which owns the field and is sponsoring the event.
Chuong Tran said there are already 10 teams signed up to compete, but said he is hopeful Paintball Headquarters might accept late registrations for more players.
At first, it was difficult for Chuong Tran to realize how big of an impact the tsunami had, but said he was touched when one of his friends lost a close friend in Sri Lanka.
"I'm hoping to see a lot of people come out and be a part of it," Thai Tran said. "(I want) to re-ignite the awareness of the level of suffering over there."
Even through a paintball competition, the money can be used to repair cities and rebuild the victim's way of life, Chuong Tran said.
"I'd like the money to help the orphans who don't know what will happen to them the next day or next week," Chuong Tran said.
At the competition, there will be preliminary rounds, semifinals with the top four teams and a final championship, Martinez said.
There will also be raffle tickets for $2 that could win the ticket holder a number of prizes, including a bike and a new paintball gun, and a paid visit to Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas.
The worth of the prizes donated for winners and for the raffle total about $3,500, Thai Tran said.
To ensure accurate handling of the finances, Felter's Accounting and Income Tax volunteered their services so all the proceeds will go safely to the Red Cross, Thai Tran said.
Sponsors of the event include Aramark, food and beverage provider for Tucson Convention Center, Desert Beach Specialties, Sabino Cycles, Granite Construction and Bookman's.