Firefighters, cops slug it out on the field

The third annual Battle of the Badges at MCU Park was a hit!

Over 2,000 people came out to the stadium in Coney Island lastSunday, July 31, to root for their local heroes – FDNYfirefighters, NYPD police officers, corrections officers and PortAuthority police – in a charity softball match where all theprofits went to support a Brooklyn nonprofit that helpsdisadvantaged youth and adults build job skills, work experience,confidence and self-sufficiency.

These are [neighborhood] kids, kids who have had challenges intheir life. Through this program, we’ve been able to help them turnthings around, said Randy Peers, executive director of SunsetPark-based Opportunities for A Better Tomorrow (OBT). Events likeBattle of the Badges help support these programs, he said.

The FDNY team triumphed against their police officercounterparts, 3 to 1, successfully defending its title and takinghome the Heroes Trophy for yet another year.

We appreciate that we’re offered an opportunity to participateand we recognize our colleagues at the NYPD in competition, so it’sgood to hash things out on the playing field, said FDNYspokesperson Jim Long. We were happy able to perform and raiseawareness and fundraising [for a local cause].

All proceeds from ticket sales – over $26,000 – went to OBT,which serves individuals in Sunset Park and Bushwick/Williamsburg.In addition to an enthusiastic game and a gorgeous day, attendeeswere treated to magic shows, visits from Elmo and members of YoGabba Gabba, and live entertainment from La Mega 97.9 and NYC’s DJAlex Sensation, and dance performances from Sunset Park’s GrupoCultural, an OBT youth group called Los Bionicoz which did urbanmerengue, and Grupo 24 Horas which did bachata.

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