Cops 2, Firefighters 0Published 9:38pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Suffolk’s police officers and firefighters usually don’t find themselves at odds, but on Saturday they lined up against each other in a battle for bragging rights as the city’s best public safety team on the gridiron.
A group of about 60 spectators at Peanut Park saw the police department protect the title it earned in last year’s inaugural fundraising flag-football event. Saturday’s game was a close one, though, with the police officers winning 17-14 in overtime.
Together, the two teams of public safety officers raised about $800 for the city’s Relay For Life campaign.
Amanda Morean, command staff secretary for the police department, helped organize the event and was pleased with its growth.
“We’ve got a bigger turnout this year than we did last year already, so it’s awesome,” she said Saturday before the game started.
Including the 40 players, nearly 100 people attended the event. Players sported T-shirts — blue for police and red for fire and rescue — made specifically for the game, which were also sold to all employees in either department. Proceeds from the T-shirt sales totaled about $700, with concessions and entry fees on Saturday bringing in another $100, Morean said in an email on Monday.
“I think it demonstrates the good nature of the fire department people and our people,” Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett said. “They want to get together and play a little football and raise a little money for a very good cause, so I’m very proud of both of them, and it’s good for us to get together and have a little healthy competition.”
Officer Ryan Linville noted the day had an appeal not only for players, but also spectators.
“I’ve got my fiancée, I’ve got my small child, I brought my mother out here,” he said. “I know other people have their wife and kids, and some people have their dogs out here, so it’s a good family Saturday. It’s a good time.”
New fire chief Cedric Scott has been on the job for less than a month, but he made a point to be at the game.
“It’s a great honor to be here and see the team spirit and cooperation between fire and police and public safety,” he said. “They’re just continuing to give back to the community and be involved, and I just couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Capt. Demitri Wilson, who served as coach for the fire and rescue team, saw the event as an extension of his everyday job.
“You know it kind of speaks to the volume of a firefighter — we’re always here to help,” he said. “And that’s our goal, and it’s whatever (way) possible, whether it be going on the emergency medical call, running into a burning building or just participating in a fundraiser to raise money for causes such as Relay For Life.”
Durand Coltrane, a firefighter medic, is a strong supporter of the fire department’s charity efforts, and he agreed with Wilson’s perspective.
“Representing the fire department in Suffolk, I think it’s a duty to come out here,” he said on Saturday.
Ron and Karen Newman came to cheer on their daughter, Samantha Blake, an officer who played for the police team. Ron Newman is a cancer survivor, having had lung and bladder cancer, simultaneously.
Karen Newman, an Ohio State University Buckeyes fan, said she was normally averse to ever shouting, “Go blue!” because it is a cheer uttered by fans of OSU’s archrival, University of Michigan.
“It’s very hard to say that, but I’m still doing it,” she said. “That’s why we’re out here — to support the Relay For Life and, obviously, our daughter.”