Clayton firefighters beat police in first ‘Battle of the Badges’

ndunn@newsobserver.comMay 12, 2014 

Clayton firefighters fought the law, and the law lost.

In the inaugural Battle of the Badges, the Clayton Fire Department left the field victorious, defeating the Clayton Police Department 23-5 in the charity softball game.

The event, staged by the Clayton Lions Club and held at Clayton Community Park, drew nearly 100 people – players and spectators – most of whom donated canned goods that will go to Clayton Area Ministries. The Lions Club also raised money through sponsorships and advertising, which members will use for its projects, including free vision screenings, said club member Sean O’Leary.

“It’s a good way for us to give back to the community and for people to help out their neighbors,” O’Leary said.

The club approached both departments about playing in the game. However, it’s not the first time firefighters and police officers have taken part in friendly competition. Police Chief R.W. Bridges said the two departments have played basketball once before.

“Everybody likes to make it a rivalry, but it’s really not,” Bridges said. “We do work extremely well together, and it’s a way to show the public that we can do something else outside our normal duties to benefit the public.”

About a dozen police officers and 18 firefighters signed up to play in the game.

Firefighter Matt Sutphin said the two departments like to give each other a hard time. But when it comes down to business, they work well together.

“Everything between us is competitive,” Sutphin said. “We did a weight-loss tournament once, and even that was competitive.”

Club member Nancy O’Leary, Sean’s wife, said the Lions hope to make the Battle of the Badges an annual event.

“Since this was our first time doing this, we didn’t really know what to expect,” Nancy said. “But we were pleased with the way it turned out and the number of people that came.”

For more information on the Clayton Lions Club, go to www.claytonlions.org.

Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104

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