This upcoming weekend is traditionally the busiest weekend of the year for members of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department and I’m not even referring to the number of fires and EMS incidents that will be handled. Hundreds of career, volunteer and civilian members of the Fire/EMS Department will be involved in activities such as; hosting a softball tournament to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), conducting convention activities and protecting nearly 100,000 fans, workers and players at the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys Opening Night Football Game.
Less than a week after delivering a check for $50,000 to the MDA, Andy Pantelis, President, and members of IAFF Local 1619 will once again host a softball tournament to raise even more funds for MDA. In September, during the week after Labor Day, about 80 teams of firefighters and paramedics come together from across North America to play softball and raise money to fight neuromuscular diseases. An event this large requires dozens of workers the week before, the weekend of and the week after to be successful.
The International Association of Fire Fighters MDA Softball Tournament is hosted by IAFF Local 1619, Prince George’s County Professional Fire Fighters & Paramedics Association. It is the largest gathering of firefighters and paramedics outside of the International’s Biennial Convention.
While the tournaments philosophy has been and still is “It’s all about the kids,” this year’s tournament will also carry a deeper appreciation and emotion for all firefighters. Over 1000 firefighters, families, and friends will gather on Saturday, September 11, 2010, to compete on the softball field and remember the supreme sacrifice made that fateful day. Many of the firefighters that will be at the softball tournament were part of the valiant and heroic efforts of 9-11-01. Three New York Firefighters that played in this same tournament in 2001 were part of the 343 firefighters that died on that tragic day.
During the last thirty-two years the MDA Softball Tournament and related functions have allowed the Prince George’s County Professional Firefighters to donate over $1.6 million dollars to Jerry’s Kids. As far as can be documented, we are the first local to be able to make that claim.
Opening Ceremonies for the IAFF Softball Tournament will be held on Friday, September 10, 2010, at 6:00 pm, at Watkins Regional Park, Kettering, MD. Everyone is invited to attend, admission is free and food and drinks available for purchase. The Softball Games start on Friday and run through Sunday afternoon when a champion is crowned. About 80 teams of firefighters from across the United States and Canada, MDA Ambassadors and families look forward to seeing everyone there.
Sunday, September 12, 2010, the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association and Ladies Auxiliary will kick-off their week-long annual convention. Activities on Sunday include firefighter competitions and field events at the County Fairgrounds in Upper Marlboro. Volunteer members and civilian employees of the Fire/EMS Department’s Office of Public Information and Community Outreach will be greeting citizens and residents throughout the County Fair.
Are you ready for some football?? The Washington Redskins play all their home games at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland. The game is Sunday, September 12, 2010, with kick-off scheduled for 8:15 pm. Several hours before the parking lot gates open nearly 65 men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will be preparing themselves and their emergency apparatus to protect the 1000,000 fans, workers and players that make Fed Ex Field the second largest City in the State of Maryland on game days. Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics will be prepared and deployed throughout Fed Ex Field providing emergency and non-emergency services until well after the final play.
While we are talking football, the University of Maryland Terrapins Football Team will play a home game against Morgan State on Saturday, September 11, 2010, at 6:00 pm. Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium in College Park can hold up to 54,000 fans and a capacity crowd is expected.