Guns-N-Hoses softball to help Safe Haven Child centers
Historic Calfee Park in Pulaski will be buzzing with hundreds, maybe thousands, of fans on Saturday.
No, fans won’t be at the park to watch their favorite Pulaski Mariner hero. These fans will be cheering on the everyday heroes of Pulaski County all while supporting a good cause.
Firefighters and police officers are going at it once again in the Safe Haven Guns-N-Hoses Annual Charity Softball Game to benefit the programs of the Safe Haven Child Visitation Centers of the New River Valley. This is the fourth year the game has been held.
Safe Haven offers a safe place for children to visit their estranged parents during court-ordered supervised visits. Another service Safe Haven offers provides parents a place to exchange their children without having to come in contact with each other.
Safe Haven’s Executive Director Ellen Mitchell said the annual game is the nonprofit’s only fundraiser during the year. Safe Haven relies on the support of the game, grants, donations from civic organizations, churches and individuals, Mitchell added.
Although their main office is in Pulaski, Safe Haven also operates visitation sites in Christiansburg and Wytheville. Mitchell said they’ve served 250 families over the past four years.
Last year, Mitchell said, more than 2,000 people attended the game and Safe Haven received $10,000.
“We live off that and what we get throughout the year,” Mitchell said. “That’s how we survive.”
Pulaski Fire Department Police Chief Bill Webb said the first responders enjoy the healthy competition as well as raising money for Safe Haven.
“Fire, EMS and law enforcement personnel work together, and frequently at personal risk in service to the community, and enjoy this opportunity to have a little fun for a good cause,” Webb said.
Webb also sees the opportunity to bring first responders and the community together.
“It gives the public an opportunity to see their emergency equipment and meet first responders in a non-emergency setting,” Webb said.
There will be a public safety and emergency vehicle display at 5 p.m. along with entertainment for children, Mitchell said. A finger-printing service will also be on-site for children.
The event promises door prizes, concessions by Pulaski Baseball Inc. and the Hokie Bird will be on-hand to throw out the first pitch. Between innings, Southwest Virginia Police K-9 Training group will provide a K-9 demonstration on the field between innings.
The game begins at 7 p.m. and features team Hoses, made up of all seven Pulaski County fire departments and coached by WBDJ7 meteorologist Brent Watts.
Hoses will take on Guns, made up of various Pulaski law enforcement offices and coached by WDBJ7 news anchor Chris Hurst.
This year, the game is being played in memory of Deputy G.T. “Tolley” Hurst, Ret. Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. The event will also honor the lives of fallen Virginia Tech police officer Deriek W. Crouse, longtime Elliston fire chief Pug Wells and fallen
Boones Mill VFD firefighter John L. Echternach Jr..
Admission for the softball game is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and younger with an accompanying adult. Safe Haven will be selling tickets for a 50/50 raffle as well as T-shirts to help raise money.
For more information about the charity softball game or Safe Haven, call Ellen Mitchell at 808-0096.
By Mike Shaw
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