ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County first-responders were swinging for the fence metaphorically when they decided to construct a training center at White Lake, and they’ll be swinging for the fence literally this weekend to raise money for it.
The Battle of the Badges is a softball tournament for law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel. Set to take place Oct. 2, its purpose is to raise money to do updates to the training tower and kitchen at the new training center.
“A lot of the work being done out there is being done by the Bladen County Fire Association,” said tournament organizer Chase Lancaster of the Elizabethtown Fire Department, “and in Bladen County, the fire stations are 97 percent volunteer.”
The teams for the tournament are already at capacity, but that shouldn’t stop folks from showing up for support. While the event is free, donations will be accepted.
“It’s a friendly tournament, and it should be fun to watch,” said Lancaster.
Sunday’s events will start with a worship service at 8:30 a.m., followed by the start of the tournament at 9 a.m. Bounce houses will be available for the little ones, and the Firefighter Association will also raffle off or auction items like softball gear and gift cards and will hold a 50/50 raffle.
Various apparatus will be on site for kids to vote for the Best in Show.
Entertaining the kids will also be a home run derby. For $10, participants will swing for the best out of 10 pitches, and the winner will take home a cash prize.
“Any money we receive is better than nothing,” said Lancaster. He noted the support of other agencies, as well as the county commissioners.
The tournament will take place Sunday at the Bladen County park on U.S. 701 South.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.