Copperas Cove police officers and firefighters will go head-to-head in a gridiron matchup Sunday at Bulldawg Stadium for bragging rights and to collect toys for the Blue Santa program.
“We have done it in past years on a smaller scale, and this year we are hoping to get the community to come out and donate some good toys for those who are less fortunate,” said Sgt. Kevin Keller, Copperas Cove Police Department spokesperson.
Police and firefighters always want to give what they can when it comes to helping children, said Deputy Fire Chief Michael Ramminger.
To collect the toys, each player will bring an unwrapped toy to take the field, a Copperas Cove Police Department news release states. But both departments also are inviting the public to come watch the event and bring donations for Blue Santa.
The program is a local nonprofit group that has collected and distributed toys to low-income families in Copperas Cove, Pidcoke and Kempner for the past 12 years.
“Blue Santa will be on hand to collect toys, so we hope people come out and participate,” said Keller, noting the end of the collection season is approaching. “It would be nice to give them a last push for toys.”
The game strengthens the relationship between the departments, Keller said. The departments work side-by-side on a daily basis, but it is rare that they gather with their families to participate in an event like this.
“We all know each other, but there is nothing like having some friendly competition,” Ramminger said. “This is one of the best team-building exercises you can have.”
Games between the two departments used to be a Copperas Cove tradition, said Ramminger, who has worked for the fire department for 25 years.
But in recent years, the police department has played flag football games with two teams consisting of just police officers, Keller said. The police department wanted to bring back the older tradition so they challenged the firefighters.
“We got tired of beating ourselves so we wanted to beat someone else,” he said.
The flag football game will no doubt be a competitive and entertaining matchup, Ramminger said.
“It is also for bragging rights,” Ramminger said. “FD whooped up on the police department (earlier this year in a softball matchup).”