Police, firefighters square off in fundraising competition


The competition was high, but the goal was the same Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club of Seymour.

“We’re here to help raise money,” Rick Meyer, a police officer with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, said before taking the court to play in the first Battle of the Badges.

Meyer organized the event, which brought local law enforcement agencies together in support of the Boys and Girls Club through a basketball tournament.

Facing off on the courts were 42 officials from the sheriff’s department, Seymour Police Department, Seymour Fire Department and Indiana State Police. The sheriff’s department ended up winning the bracket.

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The event raised money through $150 team registrations, admission cost for spectators, concessions and a free-throw contest. There was also a canned food drive conducted for Anchor House Family Assistance Center in Seymour.

A total amount raised was not available at press time.

Meyer said he knew several Boys and Girls Club board members and discussed with them how the club needs some facility upgrades. He said that’s when he thought about hosting Battle of the Badges to help with the costs.

“They were talking about how the club has been here for so long and how it needed some upgrades and I thought it would be a great time to get everyone together and have a fundraiser,” he said.

Meyer said he had the idea for the tournament for awhile, but was not sure what cause he wanted to support.

“It’s been a couple years ago I thought about doing it, and it’s just a chance to get everybody together when they’re not working in a less stressful atmosphere to come out and have some fun and fellowship and enjoy each other’s company.”

Jeff Joray, unit director of the Boys and Girls Club, said the funds would go to help with facility upgrades such as replacing basketball rims, nets and other items used for sports. He added that sometimes the club also will use money from fundraisers to purchase shirts for the club leagues to help offset costs to parents.

“After about 20 years, things need to start being replaced,” he said.

Joray said he was thankful for Meyer and the participants in the tournament.

“You know, this really helps the club a lot. It’s a good thing to get the police more involved in the community, especially with the things going on with the police departments around the country,” Joray said. “I think this has been good for everybody.”

Joray said the Boys and Girls Club of Seymour serves close to 150 children per day through the week. The club provides a safe place for children after school, he added.

“We have a lot of kids that if they didn’t have the Boys and Girls Club, they probably would be going home to empty houses and that can sometimes mean trouble,” he said. “We give a safe place to come after school.”

Kaleb McKinney, Seymour Fire Department, said the best part was not winning or the competition, but the opportunity to give back to the community.

“The biggest thing that we really enjoy is being able to give back to our community,” he said. “That’s a big thing for the firemen’s union.”

McKinney said it was also fun seeing his fellow firefighters competing alongside other public servants.

“That part was a lot of fun for me,” he said.

McKinney said he was happy to support the Boys and Girls Club. It’s a valuable place for kids in the community, he added.

“It gives kids the opportunity to be here instead of out on the streets,” he said. “It’s a tremendous asset to our community.”

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