Tournament to help firefighter

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ten teams of firefighters from throughout the region will come together Saturday to help one of their own.

The teams from Suffolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Navy Regional fire departments will be playing in a double-elimination flag football tournament to benefit a Suffolk firefighter whose wife has cancer.

The Public Safety BCS — which normally stands for Bowl Championship Series, but in this case means Battling Cancer Series — will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at King’s Fork High School. There’s no admission charge for spectators, but they can still make donations or purchase concessions, the proceeds from which also will go to the family.

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Suffolk firefighter/medic and EMS training officer Rainey Owen, who has helped organize the event, said so many people have stepped forward to help that she could not begin to name them all.

“We have a lot of assistance,” she said. “There’s a lot of people that have come forward. It’s really a group department effort.”

Owen said they were initially hoping just that they would get enough teams to have a tournament. They were very pleased to get 10 teams, she said.

All of the teams are “off-duty,” so they are not being sponsored by any of the cities. It’s just firefighters who want to help on their day off, she said.

But, of course, helping isn’t the only reason the teams have signed up — the winning team also gets a trophy and the ego to go along with having beaten nine teams of their peers.

“The teams are in it to win it,” Owen said. “They’re doing a good thing, but they’re doing it for bragging rights.”

Owen said the idea for the tournament came from Cody Saunders, whose father is a volunteer in Whaleyville.

“It started from a little boy,” she said. “I’m so appreciative that everyone has come forward. This is what tradition and the fire service is all about. It’s coming together for one of our own and crossing city lines.”

Pam and John King, owner of Firehouse Subs on North Main Street in Suffolk, also supported the event by donating 10 percent of Thursday’s purchases between 5 and 8 p.m. to the cause. Pam King is a fire investigator with Suffolk Fire and Rescue.