HomeWashington Twp. NewsAnnual memorial flag football tournament aims to give back

Annual memorial flag football tournament aims to give back

In the tournament's third year, the Muckenfuss family sets a goal of raising $10,000

The Muckenfuss family of Washington Township models their life after an Albert Pike quote, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

The proof? Setting up an endowment fund, scholarship and annual flag football tournament in memory of their son, Austin.

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Austin tragically passed at 14 when he was struck by a vehicle in November 2015. This would have been his senior year at Washington Township High School.

After his passing, a friend of the Muckenfuss family started a GoFundMe to pay for the funeral. Kim, Austin’s mother, said the family used the money to open the Austin Muckenfuss Endowment Fund to be used as a scholarship fund in lieu of paying for the funeral.

“We give scholarships to high school seniors,” Kim said. “Last year it was for $8,000. It doesn’t have to be for a four-year college.”

Because of their son’s reading disability, the Muckenfuss’ felt a student didn’t have to go to a four-year school to be successful. The scholarship could be used for anything: cosmetology school, trade school, a community college or a four-year university. The scholarship application can be found online at wtps.org/wths.

The big fundraiser for the Austin Muckenfuss Endowment Fund is the annual “Run Amuck Flag Football Tournament,” which is in its third year. Starting a flag football tournament was a no-brainer for the Muckenfuss family as it was something Austin loved.

“One of his friends suggested it,” Kim said. “That stuck in our head. When you’re grieving it’s hard to get up in the morning. This gives us a purpose. Austin loved football. It’s keeping his name alive. He loved helping other people.”

The tournament has grown in size annually since its inception. The first year saw 13 teams register. Last year, 23 teams came out, and this year Kim said they are limited to 25 teams.

The tournament is scheduled for April 13 at Total Turf Experience in Pitman. Check-in and registration begin at 9 a.m., and the tournament will start at 10 a.m.

Teams are co-ed, and five players are allowed on the field at a time, however Kim recommends teams have more than five players for substitution purposes. Each team is guaranteed at least two games. Cost per team is dependant on how many players come out – it’s $35 per person. Registration can be completed online at amuck13.com. For those interested in playing but don’t have enough people to field a team, call Kim at (856) 404-2529 and she will find a team for you. The tournament is recommended for high school students and adults only.

The proceeds from the event will go right back into the endowment fund. Kim said her goal is to raise $10,000 at the tournament. The money will not only be put toward the aforementioned scholarship, but Kim said they are looking to possibly set up a fund for children who need tutoring over the summer like Austin did.

“The bigger we get, the more we can do,” Kim said. “It goes right back to the town, which is nice.”

If football isn’t your cup of tea, there are volunteer opportunities for those looking to give back. Kim said volunteers can assist with scorekeeping, registration and selling tickets for the Chinese auction.

“Even if they don’t want to play, you can still come out to watch and support,” she said. “We have ‘Austin Apparel’ and we’ll be selling a large amount of Chinese auction baskets.”

She added the snack bar at the Total Turf Experience will be open and will donate a percentage to Austin’s Fund.

Coping with the loss of a loved one can be difficult, but keeping his memory alive in the form of helping other people is something that fits the Muckenfuss family. Kim also runs a grief counseling group on the third Tuesday of each month at Jefferson hospital in Washington Township from 6 to 8 p.m.

For more information on the tournament, grief counseling group or for volunteer opportunities, call Kim at (856) 404-2529.

ANTHONY J MAZZIOTTI III
ANTHONY J MAZZIOTTI III
Anthony is a graduate of Rowan University and a proud freelance contributor for 08108 magazine. He has past bylines in The Sun Newspapers and the Burlington County Times.
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