Guns & Hoses: Honor Flight Fundraiser to Pit Cops Against Firefighters in Ball Game
Artist’s rendering of an Honor Flight. (Photo courtesy of Honor Flight)
By Brandi Makuski
Stevens Point Police Chief Kevin Ruder says he’s putting his department’s mettle against that of area firefighters in the first annual “Guns & Hoses” softball contest.
Ruder said Mayor Andrew Halverson has agreed to umpire the game between the SPPD and the Stevens Point Fire Department, which will only be one part of a large- scale community event held at Bukolt Park on September 13.
The day-long event will benefit the Never Forgotten Honor Flight- a nonprofit organization based in Wausau which sends military veterans to Washington, D.C. for an honorary visit to the national memorial of the conflict in which they served.
According to Portage Co. Veterans Services Officer Michael Clements, there are more than 30 veterans from WWII as well as wars in Korea and Vietnam waiting for their chance to take the flight. The trip costs $500 for each veteran, and Clements is calling on the leaders from area veteran service organizations, including the VFW, AMVETS and the American Legion, to work together in making the fundraiser a success.
“Initially, I told Honor Flight that we’d shoot for a goal of $5,000 total,” Ruder said. “But I raised $5,000 in about eight minutes, so now we’re going for the whole shebang: I’m going to try to raise the whole $18,000 (the cost of a full flight) by the time the game starts in September.”
Ruder said Point Brewery has already offered to fund four of the tickets, and is also providing root beer and merchandise to support the day-long event.
By Monday, June 16, Ruder said he’d collected $9,000 for the flight.
The police department will display its new Caiman MRAP armored vehicle along with other police vehicles for the public. Fire trucks and equipment, along with military equipment will also be on display.
“If you’re a veteran and you haven’t signed up, sign up because there’s a good chance you’re going to go,” Ruder said. “Right now Portage County has 36 (Honor Flight applicants); we’re going to send every one of them.”