For 12 Williams Lake firefighters, one RCMP officer and one youth probation officer, Aug. 16 to Sept. 5 will be an exciting time.
The group is scheduled to travel to New York City to compete at the World Police and Fire Games.
The group will join close to 20,000 athletes from around the world who will be competing in 65 different sporting events.
Williams Lake Fire Department coach and fire chief Randy Isfeld, who will be travelling and competing with his team, said everyone’s extremely thrilled to be a part of the games.
“It’s very exciting,” Isfeld said.
“A couple years ago some of our members went down to Vancouver for the games there and came back with glowing reports, so we thought we’d get some people interested.”
The WLFD has been fundraising for the past two years to attend the games, holding hot dog sales, volunteering their services and receiving some extremely welcome donations, Isfeld said.
“We’d really like to thank all of the people who assisted us in our fundraising,” Isfeld said.
“It helped with some of the costs.”
The WLFD will be competing in three different sports. Competing in golf will be Tallon Rolston and Richard Rife, and running a half marathon will be Jason Landry.
Also, Isfeld said for the past two years his members have been learning and practicing the sport of dodge ball, and have entered a team for the games.
Competing on the team are Landry, Don Firth, Bill Page, Spring Wiebe, Rayna Carpenter, Ed Ma, Dereck Sulentich, Chris Walker, Brooks Wedel and Isfeld.
From the Williams Lake RCMP Murray Harper is scheduled to play baseball, while youth probation officer Kelly Culbert will play soccer.
The decision to hold this year’s games in New York is due in part to the event coinciding with the 10-year remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001. This year’s themes will be remembrance and gratitude.
“That event was obviously super important to the world, but certainly to New York,” Isfeld said.
“It will probably be very emotional; however, I think it will also be about the camaraderie the police services, the fire services and emergency services share with each other.”
Isfeld said he hopes the WLFD can put up a good showing at the games, but said the competition will be tough.
“Everybody’s been training in dodge ball for the past couple of years,” he said.
“We’re playing against Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and certainly teams throughout the U.S. so it’s going to be a challenge.”
The WLFD dodge ball team plays two days of round robin matchups before a double knockout playoff round begins.
“We’re hoping to do well, but it’s not just about the sport you’re in,” Isfeld said.
“It’s meeting thousands of people from the same career.”
The World Police and Fire Games are held every second year in cities throughout the world. In 2009 the games were held in Vancouver.
In 2013, the games will be held in Belfast, Ireland.