Chocowinity takes Thin Red LinePublished 7:13pm Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Chocowinity Fire Department swept nine other Beaufort County fire department teams to take top honors in the Thin Red Line basketball tournament Saturday.
Volunteer departments from Bunyan, Bath, Pantego, Pinetown, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Aurora, Pamlico Beach, Old Ford and Clark’s Neck competed in the all-day event held at Transitions of Eastern North Carolina (formerly the old Washington High School).
Chocowinity Fire Department went head to head in the final round with Clark’s Neck Volunteer Fire Department, both teams with four games under their belts.
“They were wore out,” joked Lt. Doug Bissette, who played for the Pinetown Department.
While entry into the double-elimination tournament was $50, each department raised between $150 and $1,350 to donate to the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Foundation, an organization tasked with supporting and remembering the state’s fallen firefighters and their families. A total of $8,500 was raised for the cause.
“I think it’s very important that every department raised more than the $50 entry fee,” Bissette said. “It was their way of saying we recognize that y’all are in need.”
Bissette serves as one of two Eastern regional directors for NCFFF and said that the Thin Red Line tournament was the first event of its type in the state.
“It’s the first county-based thing that was directed toward the NCFFF,” Bissette explained. “We’re trying to get other counties to follow suit and do it as well.”
Bissette said the money raised will pay approximately 75 percent of the costs associated with NCFFF’s Fallen Firefighters memorial, held on May 4 in Raleigh.
At the end of the tournament, an oversized (mock) check of $8,500 was handed over to Keith Powell, NCFFF’s marketing director.
“We really hope other counties will step in and do something like this,” Bissette said. “We may not get 100 counties, but if we get 10, that’s $85,000.”
For more information about the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Foundation, visit www.ncfff.org. To donate to NCFFF, contact Lt. Doug Bissette at Washington Fire Station No. 1, 252-948-9405.