Utica University Football Announces 2023 Mastrovito Hyundai Believe 271 Bowl Sponsor and Honorary Captains
“The life lessons our student-athletes and coaches receive from our interactions with the Believe 271 Foundation and the Honorary Captains are simply life changing.”
Once again, the Utica University Football team will host the 2023 Mastrovito Hyundai Bowl Game to benefit the Believe 271 Foundation. Founded in 2014, Believe 271 provides financial support to volunteer firefighters, EMTs and members of ladies’ auxiliary programs in Oneida and Herkimer counties who suffer from life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.
“Cancer in the fire service is the leading cause of deaths to both career and volunteer firefighters. Since 2014, our foundation has assisted 109 volunteer firefighters in their battles with cancer,” said Brian McQueen, President and Co-Founder of the Believe 271 Foundation.
This year, Mastrovito Hyundai will sponsor the Believe Bowl as the Pioneers take on the Moravian University Greyhounds. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, September 9 at 1:00 p.m. at the Charles A. Gaetano Stadium, the first home game of the season. Fans are encouraged to wear orange for the game.
“As an avid supporter of first responders, Mastrovito Hyundai is proud to partner with the Believe 271 Foundation and the Utica University Pioneers Football Team to sponsor the 2023 Believe Bowl and give back to the community and its firefighters that give so much to us every day,” said Frank Mastrovito, owner of Mastrovito Hyundai.
Three local first responders will be recognized as the 2023 Mastrovito Hyundai Believe 271 Believe Bowl Honorary Captains.
Firefighter Melissa Eaton, Remsen Fire Department
Melissa is a life-long member of the Remsen Volunteer Fire Department. Recently diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, Melissa is currently undergoing treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and its outreach center in Westchester County. She resides with her husband, Bob, the Remsen Fire Chief, along with their daughter and son.
Lieutenant Mark Shafer, New Hartford Fire Department
Mark is currently a Lieutenant with the New Hartford Fire Department. Despite his courageous fight with stage four colon cancer, Mark continues to serve as an active volunteer firefighter, further proving his dedication to protecting our community. Mark is receiving his cancer treatments in Central New York. He is married with four children.
Assistant Chief Brian Szkotak, Lake Delta Fire Department
Brian has been a volunteer firefighter for the last 30 years. He’s currently serving as Assistant Fire Chief of the Lake Delta Fire Department. Brian was previously an officer with the Yorkville Fire Department.
Over the last three months, Brian was experiencing health complications and he contacted the Believe 271 Foundation for assistance into finding medical support. Thanks to the foundation, Brian was able to seek treatment at the Kettering Cancer Center in New York City earlier this month. He will undergo further tests and treatments for stage two/three prostate cancer. Brian’s wife, Audra, and both of their children are supporting his battle.
“Every college football program has their traditional rivals and BIG games on their schedule. At Utica University, that game is the Believe Bowl. It is our game to give back to the community that we play for,” said Utica Football Head Coach Blaise Faggiano. “The life lessons our student-athletes and coaches receive from our interactions with the Believe 271 Foundation and the Honorary Captains are simply life changing.”