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Basketball: Cops, firefighters playing for charity at Griffith Gymnasium

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By Mike Cote

Members of the Los Alamos Fire Department and Los Alamos Police Department will square off in a charity basketball game Saturday night.

“The Battle of the Badges” is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Griffith Gymnasium. Approximately a dozen representatives from each public safety department will take part in the game and several more will be running the concession stand and volunteering in other capacities at the event.

Admission is $5 per person. Kids 10 and under will be admitted free of charge.

Proceeds from the game will go to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Special Olympics.

The International Association of Firefighters, the union which represents Los Alamos County’s firefighters, is a major supporter of MDA — best known for its “Jerry’s Kids” campaign. Locally, firefighters have participated in the “Fill The Boot” campaign, which benefits the MDA.

Fire captain Paul Grano, one of the main organizers of the charity hoops game along with LAPD’s Cpl. Oliver Morris, said the firefighters wanted to organize another event to help these two charities.

“We came up with this ideal when we were right in the middle of basketball season,” Grano said. “We tossed the idea around at the union meeting in December.”

The Special Olympics was chosen as a co-beneficiary because LAPD sponsors it with its annual Torch Run.

Tickets, which can be purchased at the door starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, are good for a prize raffle. Some lucky spectators will be called down to shoot free throws for prizes during the game.

Other than possibly some bragging rights between the two public service entities, Grano said there isn’t anything on the line Saturday.

The main focuses, he said, are the charities and building some goodwill in the community.

“That money, it’s a national thing,” Grano said. “Some of that money could be coming right back into the community.”