Local police officers and firefighters participated in a friendly softball game on July 7 at the Salem Kiwanis Field in an effort to raise money for individuals with Muscular Dystrophy, a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.
The event began at 7 p.m. and concluded approximately two-and-a-half hours later. Admission was free, but donations were accepted at the gate.
The Guns N Hoses Softball Game has traditionally been played at the Salem Red Sox Haley Toyota Field. This marks the first year in a different location. Alan Lawrence, the Red Sox General Manager, has been instrumental in what Guns N Hoses has been able to accomplish over the last 15 years.
The head coaches, Caleb Hinchey (Guns) and Tony Rickman (Hoses), relish any opportunity to engage in friendly competition. Before the event got underway, Tiffany Bradbury sang the National Anthem while members of the Salem Fire and Roanoke City Fire Department Honor Guard held up both the United States and Commonwealth of Virginia Flag.
The game went back-and-forth, much to the delight of friends and family in the stands. It was the firefighters who ultimately defeated the police officers, 15 to 13.
“I enjoy the time on the field. In our professions, we face serious situations and are exposed to traumatic and stressful events on a daily basis. These events will wear on a person. When we have this game, it gives these great men and women a few hours to relax their minds and have some fun,” Rickman, President of Guns N Hoses Softball, said.
He added: “We are all competitive and each side wants to have a victory over the other. This event helps to build a bond between firefighters and police, and it shows all the citizens that we are ordinary people that like to have fun and relax also.”
Weeks of preparation is required for the Guns N Hoses Softball Game to be a success. In addition to securing a facility, event organizers have to obtain sponsors, secure advertisement, gather volunteers and make sure all of the players have the right insurance.
“This event has been labeled as ‘The Valley’s Finest’ versus ‘The Valley’s Bravest.’ It’s a fun way to be competitive against our public safety counterpart,” Assistant Fire Marshall Jeff Conner said. “It is also one of the best MDA events that gives everyone – firefighters, police and the public – the opportunity to get involved.”
For more information, including how to donate to MDA, contact 804-285-2971 or visit mda.org.