Fort Wayne's Best Compete in World Police & Fire Games
For Immediate Release
Contact: Natalie Eggeman
Fort Wayne’s Best Compete in World Police & Fire Games
As the tenth anniversary of the horrific 9/11 attacks loomed closer, New York City locked down and began evacuations in preparation for another assault—Hurricane Irene. But as most residents exited Manhattan in expectation of 70+ mph winds and extensive flooding, a group of five police officers, three firefighters, and two correction officers from Fort Wayne headed into the storm. The World Police & Fire Games were scheduled for August 27, the same Saturday the hurricane was forecasted to hit the city, and the Fort Wayne basketball team had no intention of staying away. Their excitement about the upcoming competition was intensified by the challenge of facing Mother Nature head-on. After all, they’re trained for emergency situations and were eager to be of service. As the public watched the path of the hurricane on television, anxious for the city that had already lost so many heroes, most of us didn’t realize that hundreds of visiting firefighters and policemen from around the world were marching in, ready to lend their assistance. That hurricane picked the wrong city to mess with!
It’s heartening to know that today, like ten years ago, law enforcement and firefighting communities don’t shy away from danger of any kind. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed his sentiments about 9/11 in his welcome letter to the competitors:
“This year’s games provide a poignant opportunity to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11th tragedy – to remember those lost, to commend the first responders, and to thank those from all over the world who extended their help and their hearts on that darkest of days. I join in this solemn commemoration, looking forward to a better and safer future thanks to the courageous efforts of those who gather for the WPFG.”
As you know, Irene lost intensity and thankfully there was only some minor flooding in Manhattan. The World Games were postponed only two days. On Monday, Fort Wayne took on Calgary, Canada, using all that pent-up energy that had built during the storm, to defeat them 38 – 31. Fort Wayne played the New York City Police Department—the host team—in the second game and in the last seconds broke the 36 point tie to win. The next game was against Chandler Fire out of Phoenix, Arizona. In another close game, Fort Wayne was two points down in the last ten seconds when Chandler rebounded a shot and won 32 – 29. Fort Wayne had another chance in this double elimination tournament and faced Athens, Greece the same day. The Hoosier team led in the entire first half, growing the lead in the 3rd quarter, but the Greek team changed their strategy, fouling anyone who attempted a layup or close shot, and the final minutes became a free throw shooting contest. Greece hit a three-pointer and a missed Fort Wayne shot was rebounded by their competitors, helping Greece take the win 41-38. Greece went on to win the gold medal in basketball by defeating Chandler, a team from California, and a team from Canada.
Fort Wayne played hard and strong, and should be proud. We’re certainly proud of them!
*Team Picture Caption (left to right) Terry Holmes, Barry Thompson, Dan Amos, Greg Addison, Coliss Wallace, Simon Williams, Andy Bolinger, Chris Adams, Kenny Girardot and Bennie Lewis (coach)