BELMAR/LAKE COMO, NJ — Since Kathleen Cunningham lost her brother in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11. 2001, she has dedicated herself to making sure he is never forgotten. And for the past six years, she has had an entire team behind her to help.

Now more than 400 members strong, Team Shamrock is dedicated to keeping Don Robertson Jr.’s memory alive by raising funds to build technologically advanced “smart homes” for catastrophically injured service members through the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

“Donnie had a shamrock tattoo and a love of his Irish heritage,” said Cunningham of Spring Lake, referring to how Team Shamrock got its name. “To date, we have raised about $750,000 … and shooting for $100,000 (for 2018).”

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Team Shamrock’s efforts will be making the difference locally for veteran Scott Nokes of Neptune. During his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, the Marine corporal developed an infection that would result in the loss of both his legs and his eyesight.

Now, Nokes is only months away from moving into his own smart home in Howell — the first in New Jersey, Cunningham said.

But before that groundbreaking event, Team Shamrock has another important date on its calendar. On September 30, Team Shamrock will embark on its annual trek to New York City for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk. The memorial run was created to retrace the final steps of Siller, a New York City firefighter ,who lost his life on 9/11 after strapping on his gear and running through the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (formerly known as the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel) to the twin towers.

Cunningham is grateful for the ongoing support she has received over the years from Team Shamrock members — many of whom are local residents and business owners.

For example, Belmar photographer Stephen Lacko and his wife, Kathleen, have been there from the team’s beginning and are one of Team Shamrock’s top sponsors. While Cunningham said Steve “makes us look great in every picture,” Kathy has been participating in the run — “a life-changing experience”— for five years.

In addition, the Belmar/Lake Como St. Patrick’s Parade party in March at Lacko’s Main Street studio has become the site of Team Shamrock’s annual kickoff fundraiser.

And Reggie Hyde, owner of Bar Anticipation, is another top sponsor. He opens the doors to his Lake Como establishment several times a year for Team Shamrock benefits, including last month’s WFAN Summer Send-Off event, which raised some $5,500. “And (Hyde) does the run with us every year,” Cunningham said.

Meanwhile, she is calling all “Shamrockers” to be part of the September 30 Tunnel to Towers event. Buses will leave The Atlantic Club in Wall at 6 a.m. and will return by 3 p.m. To sign up or for more information, click here.   

For updates on the event and other news, visit the Team Shamrock Facebook page.

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