FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – It's a 40-year-old tradition that's still going strong, the Annual Rager-Stiverson Softball Game.
The 40th Annual Police and Firefighter Softball game was held at The Turners Wednesday evening. It’s a commemorative game held in honor of a fallen firefighter Michael Rager, and fallen police officer Kenneth Stiverson, but this year is extra special.
Bob Amber with FWFD says not only is this softball game played in memory of Stiverson and Rager, who both died in the line of duty in 1969 and 1972, but this year it's being played in honor of Jim Fredrick, the man who founded the game. Amber says Fredrick died this past winter.
“For us to continue a tradition that was passed down to us, it’s important to pass it on to them,” said Amber speaking of younger firefighters on the crew.
"What it means is you're never forgotten. Whenever we lose an officer in the line of duty they're never forgotten. We continue the memory and we just never forget them,” said Officer John Chambers with FWPD.
But the softball game serves several other purposes—a battle to see which public safety team is "best" at softball, as well as a fundraiser.
This year's fundraiser actually goes to one of the fire department's own, Assistant Chief Michael Miller, who's 15-year-old daughter needs a psychiatric service dog. All the money raised will go towards the training and purchase of the dog, and Miller says his family is honored and humbled by the gesture.
"It's just amazing, and the Police and Firefighters just always come together to help out. Whether it's someone being sick, a death in the family, or anything. They're always there to help out. It's just a humbling experience to be the recipient of that this time,” Miller said.
The event raised $450 towards the service dog and Miller says he’s grateful for all the donations.
As for the score, the police won over the firefighters for the second year in a row, with a score of 30 to 15. Now have softball bragging rights and a 4 ft. trophy.
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