Police or fire in basketball game? Place your bets

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The trash talking has already begun &045; but in the end, it’s all for a good cause.

Natchez police and firefighters will face off in a benefit basketball game at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Martin School gymnasium on Homochitto Street.

Tickets are $2 for adults and $1 for children. Major sponsor donations are available for $100 or more, with donations of up to $99 garnering a contributing sponsorship.

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Proceeds will benefit the families of five City of Natchez employees who were activated with the military. Those employees include:

4Police Sgt. Perry Bruce, stationed in Kuwait.

4Police Officer Ben Hewitt, Fort Hood, Texas.

4Supervisor of

Prisoners Keith Simmons, Fort Hood, Texas.

4Police Officer Russell Tanner, Fourt Huachuca, Ariz.

4Police Officer Roy Woods, who was stationed in Jackson and returned to work April 16.

&uot;With us being over in America and these people putting their lives on the line for us every day, many people want to do something Š but don’t know what to do,&uot; said Ward 4 Alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West.

&uot;We wanted to find some way to show the families that we cared about them, to give a token of our appreciation.&uot;

West is chairman of the Board of Aldermen’s Police Committee and, along with Ward 2 Alderman and Fire Chairman Ricky Gray, will serve as announcers for the game.

Warm-up games will include the peewee division game, Lazarus Arts vs. Trace City Kiwanis Club, at 6 p.m. and the third- and fourth-grade division game, Constable Ray Brown vs. Natchez Regional Medical Center, at 6:30 p.m.

But the main event, police vs. fire, is the game generating the most buzz so far.

Coach Wilbert Whittley of the city’s Recreation Department wouldn’t hazard a guess as to who the winner would be.

&uot;I’m not touching that one,&uot; he said.

Perhaps it’s good that he is remaining impartial, since he will help referee the game along with Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith and Adams Youth Court Judge John Hudson.