Cooperation appears to be the name of the game.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The township's safety forces are facing off in a test of athletic skills to help the family of one of their own.
The police and fire departments will meet in a flag football game Oct. 28 at Spartan Stadium behind Center Middle School. Gates open at 9 a.m. with kickoff at 11 a.m.
The safety forces had been planning a football game as a way to build camaraderie between the two departments, police Sgt. Chuck Hillman said.
In the early stages of the planning, a tragedy happened to the family of one police detective.
Kade Kotheimer, 24, a 2001 graduate of Boardman High School, joined the Speedway, Ind., fire department about eight weeks before he was critically injured in a traffic accident Sept. 15 in Indiana.
His father, Kim, is Boardman Police Department's crime prevention officer and his mother, Laura, is a music teacher at St. Charles School.
Kade Kotheimer had gotten out of his car after a minor traffic accident, was struck by a vehicle driven by a habitual traffic offender and then struck by two more vehicles. Although his condition has improved, he remains in a coma in an Indiana hospital.
There aren't tickets for the game, but donations will be accepted at the gate. All proceeds will benefit the Trust Fund For Firefighter Kade Kotheimer.
Hitting the field
Twenty police officers and 16 firefighters are expected to hit the field. Other members of both departments will contribute in other ways, working at concession stands, preparing food and passing the collection boot.
"I've been here for 10 years, and this is the first time I've seen this much cooperation -- not just between the fire department and the police department -- but within the fire department itself," said Harry Wolfe, a firefighter who's organizing the event on his department's end.
That's because firefighters recognize the importance of the event and want to get behind the effort, Wolfe said.
"I would say it's been the same with the police department and between the police and fire departments," Hillman said,
Concessions will be available, and a 50-50 raffle and Chinese auction also are planned to raise money.
Several businesses have donated to the effort, including Coca-Cola, DiRusso's Sausage, Nemenz Foodstores, Save-A-Lot, Giant Eagle and American Farms Produce.
The school district is allowing use of the stadium for game day. Ladder trucks from both the township fire department and Poland's Western Reserve Joint Fire District will be at the game. Kade Kotheimer completed WRJFD's cadet program as a teen.
A pancake breakfast
Another fundraiser is planned from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 29 at Poland Knights of Columbus, U.S. Route 224. Proceeds from the annual pancake breakfast of Poland Firemen's Association and Poland Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary will go to the Kade Kotheimer fund.
Donations to the fund also may be made at the Southern Park Mall branch of National City Bank.
Among items donated for the Chinese auction on game day are a football signed by Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel and a Youngstown State University football helmet signed by the team.
Cheerleaders from Center and Glenwood middle schools will cheer during the game, and the high school's Spartan Alumni Band will entertain at halftime, Hillman said.
For the most part, Hillman and Wolfe say that businesses have been receptive to donating. Even some that initially declined to participate because of corporate restrictions contributed gift certificates and other items when they learned of the cause.