Toledo fire, police teams represent city in recent Detroit eventsWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | email@example.com
Members of the Toledo fire and police departments recently participated in a regional Battle of the Badges basketball tournament.
Toledo Fire & Rescue Department (TFD) finished second to the Detroit Police Department in the seven-team competition, held March 5 at the Palace at Auburn Hills.
Also competing were the Detroit Fire Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, Macomb County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Border Patrol.
“There were some really tight games,” said Jonathan Thomas, a 16-year veteran of the Detroit Fire Department and vice president of First Responders 4 Fitness, the nonprofit organization that organized the tournament.
The tournament took place before a Detroit Pistons-Chicago Bulls game. Most of the tournament participants went out for dinner and then stayed to watch the NBA game.
TFD rented a charter bus and brought along a group of about 35 people, including players, family members and friends.
TFD Pvt. Keith Szenderski said the all-day event was fun.
“Just being on the Pistons floor and taking it all in was the best part,” Szenderski said. “It was all about getting together and being with a bunch of guys and having fun.”
Thomas said he was happy with the turnout.
“We really appreciated Toledo for coming,” he said. “They were really excited. They chartered a bus, brought their wives and kids and really put a lot of effort into coming. Hopefully they will be back for our tournament in August.”
First Responders 4 Fitness is planning another Battle of the Badges competition Aug. 22-24 on Belle Isle in Detroit. That event will include another basketball tournament as well as a 5K/10K walk/run and occupation-related challenges such as vehicle extrication and water rescue competitions.
First Responders 4 Fitness is dedicated to promoting the health of first-responders. The group organizes sporting competitions, health fairs, seminars and more.
“Our vision and mission is to help all first-responders, whether police, fire, EMT, nurses, doctors – anyone who would be the first responder in a disaster situation – to be more conscious of their own health,” Thomas said. “Police and fire have some of the highest incidence of heart disease. I can’t tell you how many guys retire and don’t cash one retirement check. A life of longevity – that’s what we’re promoting.”
For more information, visit www.fr4f.org.
Fight for Air Climb
Toledo firefighters also recently participated in the Fight for Air Climb, an annual fundraiser for the American Lung Association.
Participants were timed climbing the 70 floors (1,035 steps) of the Detroit Renaissance Center in Detroit on March 2. The event included a category for firefighters doing the climb in full gear. Five Toledo firefighters were among the 250 firefighters who participated.
“Every year I get about 15 floors up and think, ‘What am I doing?’” said TFD Capt. John Schnorberger, laughing, who said he’s done the climb three or four times.
The other Toledo firefighters were Doug Harmon, Greg Szumigala, Matt Brooks and Nick Simon. Harmon was the top finisher from TFD, finishing 18th overall with a time of 12:46.
This year, Schnorberger’s wife, Amy, and 8-year-old son, Drew, also participated, with Drew finishing first in his age group.
“My son finished in 12:15 — without gear, of course — but we like to tease [Harmon] now, saying ‘An 8-year-old beat you!’” Schnorberger said.
Livonia Fire Department had earned the right to start first since they raised the most money at last year’s climb, but the department offered the starting position to Toledo’s team in honor of TFD Pvts. Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman, who were killed fighting a fire on Jan. 26.
“That was a very nice gesture by the Livonia Fire Department,” Schnorberger said. “It just shows how firefighters take care of each other, even though we don’t know any of those guys. We had a lot of people come up and ask how we were doing. It was a neat feeling for them to do that.”
Schnorberger’s son also offered a tribute to the fallen firefighters at his Boy Scout Pinewood Derby on March 8. He raced a fire truck labeled with a No. 3, the engine number Machcinski and Dickman were assigned to.
For more information, visit www.FightForAirClimb.org.
Tags: American Lung Association, Battle of the Badges, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Renaissance Center, Fight for Air Climb, Fight for Air Climb Detroit, First Responders 4 Fitness, Palace at Auburn Hills, Toledo Fire & Rescue, Toledo Fire Department, Toledo Police Department