Courtesy Joe Rizzo                                 Firefighters and law enforcement officials pose during the first Guns and Hoses charity baseball game at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai in this undated photo.

Courtesy Joe Rizzo Firefighters and law enforcement officials pose during the first Guns and Hoses charity baseball game at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai in this undated photo.

Can-do crew takes on the boys in blue

3rd annual charity baseball game pits Nikiski firefighters against local law enforcement

Alaska State Troopers and local law enforcement will square off against the Nikiski Firefighters Friday night in the third annual Guns and Hoses Charity Baseball Game.

The game, which will be held at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, will start at 6 p.m. Tickets are available for a donation at the door. Proceeds for the event support the Nikiski Children’s Fund, which is a nonprofit that provides school supplies and financial assistance to students attending Nikiski Middle/High School and Nikiski North Star Elementary. Through the nonprofit, a debit card is available at both schools that allows teachers to purchase anything from food for the weekend to winter boots to driving lessons when they see one of their students struggling to get by.

The Children’s Fund was started in 2015 by Carlee Rizzo while she attended Nikiski High School.

This year Bailey Epperheimer has taken charge of the nonprofit as executive director. Epperheimer, who is entering her junior year of high school, said she was a little overwhelmed at being offered the role by Joe Rizzo, Carlee’s father and one of Epperheimer’s teachers.

“When he asked me if I wanted to be the executive director, my first thought was ‘Woah, that’s a pretty fancy title,’” Epperheimer said.

Epperheimer had previously done service-oriented work with the local 4-H chapter and at her church. Her role with the Children’s Fund will provide her with leadership experience as she sets her sights on college, she said.

Joe Rizzo said that last year the baseball game raised about $1,600 for fund, and a large portion of that came from local businesses who sponsor the event. During last year’s game, the local law enforcement didn’t have enough people to play, so Rizzo said that a few firefighters and some volunteers from the crowd helped to fill out the ranks. This year the firefighters will be looking to take home their first victory, and firefighter Eli Deatherage said that he’s been practicing his pitching with his 5-year-old to get ready for the big show.

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