Rockford Police and Fire take friendly rivalry to softball field–for a good cause

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ROSCOE, Ill. (WTVO) –Sunday was a beautiful day for some friendly competition between Rockford police and fire officials. The guns and hoses took their rivalry to the softball field in a match to raise awareness for a cause close to their hearts.

“The competition’s really hard, but it is so neat to see these guys just out here relaxing and having fun with the community, talking with everyone. It’s just a great event for the first responders,” Brad Lindmark said.

Stateline first responders took the field Sunday afternoon at Leland Park in Roscoe as part of a charity softball tournament benefitting the Greg Lindmark Foundation.

“The weather’s perfect. It was a little cold this morning, so everyone is dressed in their cold gear, but now that we’re heating up playing, it’s starting to get time to peel the layers off and play some ball,” said Rockford Fire Captain James Cantu.

“You couldn’t ask for a better day. This is perfect fall weather, 70 and sunny,” said Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea.

In 2015, former Rockford Deputy Police Chief Greg Lindmark took his own life. Greg’s family created the foundation in his name to help connect first responders to mental health services.

“Right now, with everything that’s going on with the Covid and the uproaring in this country, it’s just we all need to come together and they really need to focus on their mental health. The stress is hard enough with that job, let alone everything else,” Lindmark said.

“These are trying times across the country for first responders, particularly law enforcement, right now. To have community members and organizations like this showing support, that really helps,” Chief O’Shea added.

Rockford Police have participated in the Coaches Clincher Benefit for the last four years. For the first time, Rockford Fire fielded a team for the tournament.

“In our career fields, between police and fire, we see a lot of stuff that the average person doesn’t, and it’s good to be able to have the different avenues to handle that rather than just trying to keep it internally. And this helps up get used to that a little more and get to work with the cops and see what they’re going through a little bit better and get a better understanding between the two public services,” said Captain Cantu.

Rockford Fire’s first game win set the stage for the marquee matchup. After a hard-fought contest, the Fire Department won by a score of 3-1. But Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea says he is glad they came out.

“It’s a great rivalry between police and fire all the time. Joking rivalry, because we work hand-in-hand and we’re very appreciative of them,” Chief O’Shea said.

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