Both the Owensboro Police Department and Owensboro Fire Department were awarded a $750 check from Sports and Recreation company 3Up 3Down Tuesday at the Owensboro City Commission meeting. The company wanted to give back to Owensboro after holding several successful tournaments in the area this past year. In turn, OPD and OFD will be putting that money back into the community.
“Sports tourism is really important to our economy as a whole, and there are three really important components to that,” said Convention and Visitors Bureau president and CEO Mark Calitri. “One of the three most important components is to have quality event managers who bring good events to Owensboro.”
A part of that success comes from event planners and managers John and Trish Grass, who work with 3Up 3Down and their dedication to bettering cities like Owensboro.
“Prior to the season, Trish and I made a pledge to earmark at least one event each year to special people,” John Grass said. “This year we named our event the Armed Forces Tribute Event.”
131 boys and girls teams attended Owensboro, Henderson and Newburgh for the event, and an idea to support the troops was implemented. Each age group donated items throughout the event–from beef jerky to shampoo, John said. Seven boxes of items were shipped overseas to the troops.
“Mark, the city, the parks department–in going together, we’re trying to bring bigger and better events to your City going forward,” he said. “I earmarked in the budget a certain amount of money from the donations we sent the troops, and we’re going to give it back to the people who deserve it.”
OPD Police Chief Art Ealum and OFD Fire Chief Steve Mitchell accepted the checks.
John Grass, who was a volunteer firefighter in Indiana for years, said he understood more than most the devastating sights firefighters had to see and carry with them on a daily basis.
“Fire departments do a lot, and I don’t think they get the recognition that, sometimes, they have to live with the things they have to see in their everyday jobs,” he said.
Both OPD and OFD have plans to put those $750 donations directly back into the communities they serve.
“It didn’t take the firefighters long to figure out we wanted to put it right back into the community,” Mitchell said. “We’re here to save lives, and we’re putting smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors going in people’s homes.”
Ealum said his department’s donation would go toward Camp Kops, a summer camp for the youth of Owensboro held annually at Camp Schafer.
“We take our youth to this camp, and they spend the week with police officers, and that helps build community trust. This will be used wisely,” Ealum said.