Inaugural True North Guns N’ Hoses Charity Boxing Event Held at Bemidji’s Sanford Center
Bemidji’s Sanford Center held a charity boxing match over the weekend. The hook? The pugilists were all police, firefighters and first responders, mainly from Minnesota.
From the sound of the bell to the punches thrown in the ring, 26 first responders showed off months of practice and hard work at the inaugural True North Guns N’ Hoses event.
“It’s just a fun event,” said Sanford Center General Manager Shelia Murphy. “You know, brings our law enforcement, our first responders, make them kind of more of a people in the fun aspect.”
These first responders from around the Midwest came together on Saturday to not fight fires or crimes. Instead, they aimed to raise awareness and funds for a good cause. A portion of the funds raised go toward the non-profit Heroes Helping Heroes.
“We’re…dedicated to helping all of our both active and retired first responders who are suffering from work-related mental health issues,” explained Heroes Helping Heroes Founder and President Chris Steward.
Events like Guns N’ Hoses also raise awareness around the stigma of mental health for first responders.
“One of [Heroes Helping Heroes’] goals as an organization is to attempt to normalize [mental health],” said Steward. “To get not only not only the first responders to acknowledge it, acknowledge it with the horrific things that they see on a daily basis, but also to educate the public.”
While this combination of a boxing event and fundraiser may be new to the Sanford Center, staff aim to continue creating community-centered and homegrown events like Guns N’ Hoses.
“This is really something that was more for the community,” said Murphy about the creation of the event. “This is one of those events that we want the community involved. We tried to keep the ticket prices low, and just something fun and different.”
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