Jack Reich in front of a Black Diamond police car. Submitted photo by Brian Lynch

Jack Reich in front of a Black Diamond police car. Submitted photo by Brian Lynch

Annual police, firefighter hoops fundraiser returns

Police officers and firefighters from Enumclaw, Kent, Fife and Mountain View will square off on the basketball court at the Enumclaw Gym on June 10.

The Boots and Badges fundraiser game is back in business.

On June 10, police officers and firefighters from the area will square off on the basketball court at the Enumclaw Gym. It’s set to be an afternoon of fun, entertainment, and most of all, fundraising. Doors will open at 2 p.m. and the game will start at 3 p.m.

Firefighters from the Enumclaw, Kent, Fife, and Mountain View fire departments will go up against police officers from the Black Diamond, King County Sheriff’s Department, Kent, Enumclaw, Auburn, and Gig Harbor police departments.

The Boots and Badges event started as a way to raise money for cancer research and now benefits those who are undergoing treatment for cancer. Sergeant Brian Lynch started a Relay for Life team and began raising money when his friend and Police Auxiliary volunteer Marilyn Hash was fighting cancer. Since then, the event has raised money for the American Cancer Society, and most recently, Chief for a Day children.

The event has raised money for four Chief for a Day children so far. The last event raised money for two Chief for a Day participants, Sienna Braun and Hunter Coffman, who suffered from cancer.

Unfortunately, Hash died shortly before the last Boots and Badges event in 2016 and Lynch had to take a break from organizing the event.

“When she passed away, it took a lot out of me. Then, recently, we lost our second Chief for a Day when Hunter Coffman passed away a few months ago,” Sgt. Brian Lynch said in a phone interview. “It takes a toll on the police officers and on me personally because I get to know these kids and I had to take a break for a year.”

This year, the money raised at the event will go to the family of the next Chief for a Day, Jack Reich, who is six years old. Last September, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is a type of cancer that affects the bones and bone marrow.

“He’s had it rough since his diagnosis, the course of treatment is pretty intense and it takes a long time,” Sgt. Lynch said.

The Black Diamond police department got connected with Jack’s family through Footprints of Hope and decided to choose him to be this year’s Chief for a Day. Jack and his family have visited the department a couple times and are already getting to know the officers.

“100 percent of all monetary donations and anything raised for the Boots and Badges basketball game will go to Jack’s family and help them out,” Lynch said. “During the time that we have the Chief for a Day program going, we not only take monetary donations, but we take donations of items from stores and we have a Christmas in August for Jack where we give him toys, we give him things that he needs and things that he wants.”

The department has been collecting donations for Jack’s family since March, but fundraising will culminate with the Boots and Badges game.

Lynch was once again amazed by the community’s response and donations for this event.

“After taking the year off, when we came back to everybody and said, ‘look, we’re doing it again,’ they were so happy and they got on board right away. They wanted to know where we were last year,” he said.

The event’s schedule will include a silent auction and a halftime show, where two raffle winners will have the chance to compete for most free throws in a minute to win two tickets to the Mariner’s game on Father’s Day.

There will also be a concessions stand run by the Soup Ladies.

Donations for the silent auction include Mariners and Seahawks tickets, a package of autographed memorabilia and tickets from the Seattle Storm, gift certificates and one-night stays at hotels in Seattle, a visit to KJR 950 AM’s studio, and a private tour of the UW Huskies stadium.

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at the Black Diamond police department or at the door.

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Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com. To see her columns come to life, follow her on Facebook at Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.
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