Shawn Nowlin firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Friday, the “Bravest” took on the “Finest” at the Salem Memorial Ballpark as part of the Annual Guns N Hoses Charity Softball Game. More than bragging rights between local police officers and firefighters, the primary purpose of the yearly contest is to raise money for local charities. With support and effort from sponsors, the Salem Red Sox and their staff members, last week’s event was the biggest to date.
“This year we decided to partner with the Ronald McDonald House of Southwest Virginia. We were looking to support a local charity in the Roanoke Valley. Both teams are very supportive of charities that help babies and kids,” Tony Rickman said. “This year we raised the largest amount of money, roughly $5,750.”
As President of Guns N Hoses Softball Game, Rickman oversees the finances of the event along with being one of the main coordinators. “I attend meetings with the facility where we have the event. I also help with the advertising and working with and obtaining sponsors,” he said.
The charity game began at 7 p.m. and lasted for nearly three hours. The cost was $5.00 per person with children five and under admitted for free. The National Anthem was a prerecorded copy the Salem Red Sox had.
Salem resident Ann James says the opportunity to support the Guns N Hoses charity game is something that she never passes up. “I am friends with many of the police officers and firefighters who participate. It doesn’t get much better than competing against your colleagues in front of family and friends for a good cause,” she said.
This year, the Guns were coached by Robbie Newman and the Hoses were coached by Rickman. While the game was competitive with both teams providing numerous highlights, when it was all said and done, the Hoses prevailed 16 to 13. The hundreds who attended were able to take part in family-friendly fun with fire trucks and police cars, a 50/50 raffle and various activities between innings.
“Even though it is a lot of work and effort to put this event on, it is a great feeling when we receive many compliments about the event, such as the size of the crowd, the competitiveness of the game and the fun the players have,” Rickman said. “It is rewarding when you have the Chief of your respected Department and Chiefs from other localities compliment you on the success of the event. The biggest joy of all is when you see the excitement and happiness in the faces of the charity and the kids and families that the money raised goes to help. It is hard to put that feeling into words.”
Without support from the community, Rickman says there is no way this event would have made it to its 17th year. Already, Rickman, and countless others, are looking forward to next year’s event.