Police-firefighter game proceeds will benefit foundation

Photo courtesy of the city of Taylor

Photo courtesy of the city of Taylor

Firefighter Ron Evina and police Cpl. Jeff Shewchuk, captained their respective softball teams yesterday in the annual charity softball game between the Police and Fire departments.

TAYLOR – Cpl. Jeff Shewchuk wasn’t happy when the city’s police softball team lost for the second straight year to the firefighters team.

     But his competitive nature was soothed when he discovered that the money raised from the game for the Make-A-Wish Foundation provided a trip to Florida for a 6-year-old girl battling leukemia.

     “She got to go to Florida with the money we raised,” Shewchuk said. “I saw photos. It gives you a great feeling when you can actually see where the money went.”

     The first two Taylor police-firefighter softball games raised about $5,000. The third annual game was scheduled for yesterday at Rotary Park, 12211 Telegraph Road behind the Metro South State Police Post.

     The nine-inning softball game was preceded by a home run derby.

     Ticket proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish, which enriches the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions by granting wishes. Donations also are accepted.

     The police officers are unbeaten against the firefighters in charity soccer and hockey games, but they’re winless in two softball games.

     The firefighters won 15-11 in 2007. Last year, they won 11-9 with late-inning heroics.

     Both teams play to win. Firefighter Ron Evina said the team in red is filled with experienced softball players who played in tournaments in leagues.

     “The firefighters are athletic,” Evina said. “Some are still active players. Ultimately, it comes down to we’re both competitive and we want to win.”

     Shewchuk said the police team would do what it takes to win as well.

     “I actually talked to (Police) Chief (Dale) Tamsen to see if we can hire (Detroit Tigers player) Brandon Inge for a couple months,” Shewchuk said.

     “It’s a great charity – a fantastic organization,” Evina said of Make-A-Wish. “You’re granting a kid a wish.”

     “The worst part of our job is anything to do with kids – when a kid gets hurt or has to go through some sort of traumatic event,” Shewchuk said. “It’s awful when you meet a child with a terminal illness.

     “Seeing the money go toward Make-A-Wish makes everybody feel great.”