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Flower Mound out to ‘back the badge’

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Flower Mound Police Chief Andy Kancel and FM Fire Chief Eric Greaser take warm-up swings for the "Backing the Badge" softball game.
Flower Mound Police Chief Andy Kancel and FM Fire Chief Eric Greaser take warm-up swings for the “Backing the Badge” softball game.

There are some things in life that we take for granted, probably because we could always count on them. The very idea that we have a sense of security comes from the knowledge that there are well-trained people in the area that will quickly come to our aid when needed, and risk their lives in the effort.

Try to imagine your level of fear in you didn’t know that there are first responders only minutes away. Suppose you dialed 911 and there was no answer? The fact is that, although most people will have very limited, if any, contact with police and fire department personnel in any given year, they wouldn’t feel safe without them.

Because of the nature of the job, police officers are often involved in situations that may appear negative after politics rears its ugly head in some of the high crime areas of our country.

Firefighters, responding to conflagrations in urban areas, are often subjected to violence by arsonists and looters bent on destroying their own neighborhoods. Yet, no matter how disastrous the episode may be, no matter how perilous the area has become, no matter how many rioters are threatening the First Responders, they continue to do their jobs, often at the cost of their lives.

Sadly, we too often see them in a bad light when edited video clips are broadcast on national television. What we don’t see often enough are the multitude of times that police and firefighters are saving lives and building accessible bridges between them and the communities they serve. One of those bridges is the “Backing the Badge” event coming up on Saturday, June 13.

I asked FMPD Chief Andy Kancel and FMFD Chief Eric Greaser to stop by for a short interview and photo to help promote the affair.

“I think the thing to put in perspective about this is that both the police and fire try to educate the public about what we do and how we are involved,” said Greaser. “This event is not that. This is a ‘Backing of the Badge,’ a grass roots effort among the community to say we want to do a recognition of police and fire and their families. We will have a friendly competition, but it is really a good-spirited grass roots effort in the community to say we want to recognize public safety and the men and women that are putting their lives on the line every day.”

The all-day event, honoring Flower Mound’s police and fire departments, kicks off at Lamar Middle School, 4000 Timber Creek Road in Flower Mound, with a 5K fun run beginning at 8:30 a.m.  Heritage Health Solutions, Inc., Elsey & Elsey Attorneys at Law, and Texas Health Presbyterian Flower Mound Hospital are the proud hosts of the race.

After the race, the excitement continues at Jake’s Hilltop Park with live entertainment, children’s activities, vendor booths, and food trucks. The Summit Club and Women of Flower Mound have some special events planned. The afternoon activities include the police department versus fire department softball game, live music, many kid’s activities and bounce houses, vendor and sponsor booths, and pie and hot dog eating contests.

“It gives us an opportunity to develop a good relationship,” Kancel said. “It’s always good when your fire and police departments get to know each other and enjoy a mutual camaraderie. This will certainly help that.”

There is no charge to attend but food sales will be with coupons that can be purchased on site. Food coupons and t-shirts are being provided to police and fire personnel and their families. A limited supply of shirts will be available for sale on site. Cornerstone Staffing (that’s Steve and Jody Smith) and Senator Jane Nelson are among the major sponsors.

“Anyone who comes to the event and wants to volunteer, I’ll find a position for them,” said Al Piccardi, volunteer coordinator for the Summit Club.

Incidentally, even if you cannot attend, please consider making a contribution through the Summit Club website. Net proceeds will be split evenly between the police and fire departments.

My wife Annette and I were honored to have the chiefs stop over with their softball bats and pose for a few photos at Glenwick Park, near our home. We enjoyed a lot of laughs as they took humorous jabs at each other’s athletic ability. Their good-natured wit revealed the genuine respect and affection they have for each other. We’ll see if that affection continues during their competitive exchange on the field. One thing’s for certain; this will be a homerun for everyone concerned!

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