What do a few members of Chicago Bliss, former Cub Chico Walker and former D'Wayne Bates have in common? A desire to help firefighters.
On Saturday evening, Glenbard East High school, 1014 S. Main St. in Lombard, will host the Illinois Fire Chiefs vs. Celebrity Sports Legends charity basketball game.
Celebrities include, Glenbard East High AD and former Chicago Bear D'Wayne Bates, former Chicago Cub Chico Walker, a few members of the Chicago Bliss along with local Fire Chief's and firefighters.
"Our firefighters, first responders, they risk their own to save lives, and I would do whatever I could to help contribute to the life-saving service they provide daily," Bates said.
The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association will donate the proceeds of the game, to fund firefighter scholarships.
"It's always rewarding to raise money for any charity, in this case to raise money for the Illinois Fire Chiefs Foundation," Fire Chief of Villa Park, Ron Rakosnik said. "The money raised goes towards the Illinois Fire Chiefs Foundation and their annual scholarship program which provides those funds to the Illinois Fire Service members to continue their professional development. This is just an outstanding program," added Chief Rakosnik.
Today is a different world, firefighter services have changed, firefighters need the additional training to deal with issues of these times.
"When I joined the Fire Service in the mid 70's I made a commitment to maintaining my educational and training efforts," Chief Rakosnik said. "The Fire Service today is faced with many challenges we didn't have years ago. Many improvements to our profession have transpired, however in the same sentence many challenges have occurred as well. We must train and educate our up and coming new leaders as well as we can. We must give them the tools to accomplish these challenges we face in the future. To provide educational scholarships and grants to students, educational institutions municipal and state governmental units and fire departments for under graduate, post graduate, and vocational education, training and research are goals of the Foundation," he added.
"We as Fire Chiefs should always fight and look for ways to make our fire personnel operate in safer more efficient conditions which allows our residents of our respected communities to receive the best Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services a reality," Chief Rakosnik emphasized.
Bates, has compassion to serve the fire service personnel as well.
"As written in the good book, "It is better to give than receive..." as we are all blessed in some manner, and it's a duty to "give back" to our community and society in general, " said Bates. "Sports, specifically the Celebrity Sports Basketball Game will provide the venue for us all to "give back" to a special group of people who risk their lives for our safety, our dedicated firefighters, Bates added.
"We are humbled, honored, and very thankful of the privilege to host the game at Glenbard East, added Bates. "We feel we are a hub for the western suburbs, and hope all the communities will join us on this special day.
" Bigger than sports and bigger than the celebrities that will participate, this game is about awareness and raising funds for our firefighters, who risk their lives daily for us," said Bates.
Tickets for this event are $15. Children 6 and under are admitted free. You may order tickets by calling (630) 592-9646 or go to www.eventbrite.com. Proceeds go to IFCA Scholarship.
Come and take part in cheering on your favorite Fire Chief or Celebrity.
If you can't make it to the game, you can make a donation to fund a scholarship for a firefighter. Visit www.illinoisfirechiefs.org for more information.