The Sulphur Springs High School Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy invites the entire community to bring the family and come out and have fun watching the Battle of the Badges Softball Game this Saturday, April 30, 2022, at Lady Cats softball park at SSHS.
Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy is hosting the event as their spring group project. The CFA Leadership meets once monthly throughout the school year to develop leadership skills. At least once each semester the students are tasked with conducting service projects.
Sulphur Springs Chick-Fil-A franchise owner and Operator Bryson Bullington donated $4,000 toward the program. First, the students were challenged to a one-on-one service project, finding a teacher or someone who does good for others and reward them with one of two gift cards they received for the purpose. For Do Good December, students partnered in groups of three and four students to perform service projects.
Friddle noted that in December, the group she was part of held a food and fuzzy sock drive which were donated to others in the community. Other groups provided hot chocolate packets and other rewards at district schools and for teachers. They also have to perform a community service project this spring as well, and chose Battle of the Badges. Debbie Stribling serves as advisor for the SSHS program.
Battle of the Badges Coordinator Kinley Friddle explained that the event is designed as a community function to bring people together after the past couple of years of COVID restrictions which gives back to first responders who have and continue to serve the community. While other ideas were considered, the decision was made by the SSHS Chick-Fil-A Leadership to give pay honor, show respect and appreciation to first responders – the people who are always there on the front line serving the community.
“We’re recognizing police officer, firefighters, and any EMS or EMT worker,” Friddle said. “We felt like we should be able to give back to them, to show our respect and how thankful we are that we have them in our community, showing a big thank you and showing how in the world today there are so many negative looks on first responders. We want to let them know that there is positive still, that a community can still come together to have a positive interactions with police officers, and with their firefighters and EMT people.”
Playing in the game will be a mix of students from the high school as well as a number of first responders. Ideally, this will help the students and community get to know first responders so that should they need their services, they’ll feel a little better being served by officers, firefighters and paramedics they know, making for a friendly interaction.
“We will be playing a softball game at Lady Cat park Saturday at 10 o’clock. We’re wanting to welcome the entire community to come out and support them as the winner will be given a prize amount to be given back to their facility or organization of their choice.”
The event will be one game, so as not to interfere if the Lady Cats have a third playoff game Saturday afternoon. Currently, the second game of the bi-district series will be played in Whitehouse on Friday evening, Apr. 29. Game three, if necessary, would be hosted in Lady Cat Park at 2 p.m. Saturday, Apr. 30.
The first responders decided not to have each group play the other, but instead to have teams consist of a mix of all first responders and students.
“They decided they can’t get together and have a friendly competition because it gets too competitive and people end up getting hurt, so it’s going to be a mix and everybody’s going to be in their having fun together,” Friddle explained. “The winning team will get to divide the money between their facility or they can donate it back to an organization of their choice – really, whatever they would like to do with it.”
Donations from sponsors Alliance Bank, El Charro, Chad’s Media, Highway 19 Construction, Lander’s Creek, Guaranty Bond and Trust, Cowboys Truck Wash and Endless T-Shirts allow the first responders to play for free. An entry fee will be charged for first responders’ families and others to be admitted to watch the game, however. Admission will be $2 per student, free for ages 5 and younger and $5 per adult with a maximum of $15 charged per family. All funds will go back to the first responders either to benefit their agency or organization directly or their charity of choice.
And, there will be other things families can enjoy to get a true ballpark experience during the game as well. An ice cream truck is scheduled to be on hand to offer treats for kids for a fee. A Chick-Fil-A Cow will be on hand to greet community members and cheer on the teams. A concession stand will be available offering those watching snacks should they choose to purchase any.