Several months ago, Sergeant Randy Rich and Joe Ghobrial started to brainstorm some ideas on how they could raise money for charity. Ultimately a friendly basketball game between the Salem Police Department and the Salem Fire & EMS Department was chosen.
The “Red on Blue Charity Basketball Game” took place inside the Salem High School gymnasium on Thursday, December 22. “Once we came up with a basketball game, everyone was on board,” Sergeant Rich said. “Everybody likes playing basketball. It’s a lot safer than playing football. We figured every year we will change the charity or organization but that is where all of the money will go.” Thursday’s game raised approximately $1,300 dollars.
Mayor Randy Foley said he never coached a basketball game before but had a lot of fun on the sidelines. “I was just asked to show up,” he said. “I coached the fireman and Salem City Manager Kevin Boggess coached the police. I was fired up. Really fired up.”
While none of the guys who took the court passed the ball like Magic Johnson, shot like Steph Curry or dribbled like Allen Iverson, the game was extremely balanced and competitive. There was enough talent on the floor to put a combined 101 points on the scoreboard, reach double-digit assists and end of the game with a buzzer beater. “I paid my ticket to see my friends compete against each other on the hardwood for a great cause,” Steve Coleman said. “I had no idea I would get treated to such an entertaining game all the way down to the very last second.”
Dr. Forest Jones, Principal of Andrew Lewis Middle School, was pleased with the overall turnout of the game. “The Salem Children’s fund helps kids that need help. Maybe their family needs help with Thanksgiving. It might be help for Christmas,” he said. “Also throughout the year you have kids who can’t afford field trips. Can’t afford a band instrument. We are just trying to help kids and their families.”
At halftime John Jackson predicted that the game would go down to the wire. The police made a three-point shot in the final seconds to defeat the firefighters, 51-50. “I’ve only seen buzzer beaters on TV,” he said. “What an incredible way to finish a game with Brandon Alterio hitting the game winning shot.”
“This was a chance for us to get together and have a little fun. It’s a great opportunity for us as law enforcement as well as the fire side to give back to the community,” Joseph Ghobrial of the Salem Fire & EMS Department said. “We look forward to doing more things like this in the future for charity.”