Fire station fundraiser on a roll - The Explorer: Sports

Fire station fundraiser on a roll

Soccer balls bound for Iraq

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:07 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Iraqi children are getting a kick out of the Rural/Metro Fire Department's fundraiser.

When Fire Chief Tom Brandhuber, who is currently serving in Iraq as a fire chief for the Air Force Reserve, contacted his firefighters back home in Tucson and asked them to collect new and used soccer balls for children in Iraq, the department found the request to be "a no-brainer."

"If he asks us to do something to support the troops, we'll do it to support the troops and to support him," said Anne-Marie Braswell, public relations manager for Rural/Metro Fire Department.

Brandhuber's request came after his introduction to Operation Soccer Ball. Operation Soccer Ball was begun around five years ago by Capt. Daniel Merritt, who saw that soccer could give American forces and the people of Iraq a chance to interact, build positive relationships, and create lifetime memories upon common ground.

"My platoon and I have constant interaction with the citizens of Iraq," said Merritt, "a proud people who want the same things for their kids as we do for ours. We have many roles in Iraq, and one of the biggest is to rebuild this country and help its people get back on their feet.

"Most of the citizens living in this area are so poor they don't have many of the daily amenities we take for granted. While they rebuild their country, the one constant source of enjoyment, of hope, is soccer. When they play soccer it consumes them, it builds them into a team, it keeps them out of trouble, it makes them forget how hard their life can be and, most of all, it gives them hope for a better tomorrow; a hope all Americans should help to build."

Brandhuber and three other Rural/Metro firefighters – Mike Grassell, Andrew Madison and Grant Reed – deployed at the end of April. Rural/Metro's soccer ball fundraiser began in June and goes until October, when Brandhuber is expected to return.

In total, Operation Soccer Ball has collected and shipped more than 8,000 balls to Iraq. Rural/Metro plans to send off its first shipment of more than 50 new and used soccer balls later this week.

The majority of the balls came from the general public. "Which makes it even nicer," said Braswell. "We publicized it and the public came through. For us it's also nice because we're first responders on a local level and our troops are first responders on a national level in a more dangerous situation. It's a way for us to show gratitude."

The balls will be deflated, then shipped. Air pumps have also been donated for shipment with the soccer balls. Volunteers, including CDO youth players, plan to assist in deflating and shipping the balls.

In Brandhuber's absence, Deputy Chief James Stoltenberg has taken the place of acting chief.

"His family is anxious for him to come home," said Braswell. Brandhuber has a wife, Tamara, and four daughters. "As are we. His biological children and 185 firefighter children are ready and waiting for him to come home."

In the meantime, the fire department continues to do what it can to show support for its chief and the American troops by collecting soccer balls. Soccer balls can be dropped off at Rural/Metro Fire Department at 490 W. Magee Road until Oct. 1. For more information, call 219-2069.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Kino College

Kino CollegeEnroll today: http://www.kinocollege.com/

HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

MOS: Storms and Floods

We asked the community about the coming floods and storms.

MOS: Back To School

We asked the community about the new school semester starting.

More Featured Videos
Spacer4px

Follow us on Facebook