Police, fire will square off for a good cause
By DAWNE LEIKER
Community involvement is nothing new for the Hays police and fire departments. However, this weekend, the departments will battle it out on the ball field for the first time, raising funds for the Cancer Council of Ellis County.
A softball game between officers and firefighters gets started at 4 p.m. Sunday at Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex. Freewill donations to the cancer council will be accepted.
Although the two departments have teamed up in the past for events such as Bowl for Kid's Sake, a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ellis County fundraiser, and Battle of the Badges blood drive for the American Red Cross, teaming up for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a new venture.
"The idea was brought up at a recent FD/PD meeting," said Hays Police Lt. Brandon Wright. "Police and fire departments across the country have stepped up to the plate for this cause, and we decided to do what we could to help out in our local area."
Outreach events for the two departments have several positive benefits, Wright said. One benefit is bringing a direct contribution to a cause such as blood donations or cancer research and encouraging others to do likewise.
Another benefit is the opportunity for the officers and firefighters to interact with community members.
"It is a lot easier to meet and actually talk with a police officer or firefighter at this type of an event than at a fire scene, a car accident or when reporting a crime," Wright said. "It's also good for the police officers and firefighters to work with one another in a non-emergent environment."
T-shirts, designed by Justin Kilian and Wright, will be available for purchase at the game. In addition, the T-shirts will be sold at a booth during the Oct. 5 Oktoberfest celebration at Frontier Park and before and after the Oct. 6 homecoming parade at the parking lot of 1501 Main.
Quantities for the T-shirts, which feature logos of the Hays fire and police departments, are limited.
Other community groups have pitched in to make the game possible, including Hays Recreation Commission, which donated the field for use, and Hays VFW, which contributed $500 toward the project.
Firefighters are bringing further awareness to breast cancer by wearing pink duty shirts throughout October.
"Every firefighter bought a shirt and in order to wear the shirt, they had to donate a little money," Kilian said. "Chief relaxed our uniform rules through the month of October, allowing us to wear T-shirts more."
Predictions on the winner of the game vary depending on who is making the prediction. Although members of the police department had a team practice, firefighters haven't yet practiced their skills.
"I'm hoping we do (win)," said Kirk Klein, a firefighter. "I'm sure the police will say the same thing. People will just have to come out to find out."