By Brandi Makuski
Officials involved in Saturday’s Guns & Hoses charity softball game have confirmed a special fly-over just before the opening pitch.
Assistant Chief Jeff Davis from the Stevens Point Fire Dept. confirmed the fly-over.
“It just didn’t come together in enough time last year, but we were able to pull it off this year,” Davis said, adding there was potential for a larger airplane presence at the annual Guns & Hoses event in the future.
The PT-17 Stearman first flew in 1941 as as training plane for pilots in the Army and Navy.
Pilot Merrill McMahan purchased the aircraft at a surplus auction in 1982 and restored the plane to its former glory.
McMahan is a naval submarine veteran, having served from 1961 to 1967 on diesel electric subs USS Remora and USS Quillback.
The Guns & Hoses charity softball game debuted last September to great fanfare, raising more than $45K for the Never Forgotten Honor Flight; an organization which takes veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit war memorials and honor their sacrifice to the United States.
The game pits city police officers against firefighters in a seven-inning game of softball at Leo Mancheski Field.
Last year’s game came to fruition thanks to the efforts of former Stevens Point Police Chief Kevin Ruder, who organized the event and made an initial fundraising goal of $18,000. Thanks to the funds raised, three more Honor Flights this year have been scheduled. Each seat costs $500 but are paid for through private donations.
Almost 40 veterans have been on a waiting list to take the Honor Flight- many of them having served in World War II.
Last year’s exhibition game between SPPD and SPFD lasted 7 innings and ended with the fire department whopping the city’s police at a score of 21-11.
Saturday’s game at Bukolt Park begins at 1 PM. Gates open at 11 AM.