Blues vs. Blaze fund raiser breaks record
The annual Blues vs. Blaze Gene Griffith Memorial Charity Football game raised a record amount of money in the five years it has been held Saturday night.
Lisa Maglione Chenault said this year’s game raised more than $10,000, which is the most they have raised since it began five years ago.
The police vs firefighters game raised $6,780 at the gate in ticket sales, $1,400 in parking, $1,800 in sponsorship checks and the remainder of the money was collected from all the little extra things that were sold at the game.
She explained that they are still adding up how much they made in sponsorships and from the vendors, which will probably add another $1,000 to their grand total.
“We are doing really well,” Maglione Chenault said about their grand total. “We are happy with it.”
Her husband Brand Chenault has played for the Blues team for the past five years.
“My loyalty lies with the Blues,” Maglione Chenault said. Her father and son also coach the Blues team.
Mariner High School will receive a $1,500 donation for allowing the game to be played at Tony McKenna Field, along with the many individuals who donated their time to make the game a success. The remaining money will be split between the Blaze’s charity the Cape Coral Professional Firefighters Benevolent Fund and the Blues Police Athletic League.
The Cape Coral Professional Firefighters Benevolent Fund helps local families who have lost their home to a fire, along with assisting needy families during the holidays.
In previous years the Police Athletic League has helped a girl from Southern Stars Gymnastics attend the National Gymnastics competition in New York, where she won the competition.
Last year due to the rainy weather, the Gene Griffith Memorial Football Game only attracted 600 spectators. This year, Maglione Chenault said they had more than 1,000 people come through the door due to the clear skies and nice weather.
A flyover by the Lee County Sherriff Department Aviation took place before the kickoff at 6 p.m.
Although the first touchdown was scored by the Blues in the first quarter of the annual Gene Griffith Memorial Charity Football Game, the Blaze took home the win with the final score of 30-6 Saturday night at Mariner High School.
Cape Coral resident and local firefighter John Richard said it was a “great feeling” to finally beat the Blues Saturday night.
“The is the very first year we beat the cops,” he said. “The team played great together.”
Last year, Richard said they lost to the Blues 7-6 and the year before that they lost 16-14.
This was the third year Richard played for the Blaze team as a linebacker.
The Blaze began practicing three months ago on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Richard said when he had time he did some extra training on the side to keep in shape.
He enjoys playing with his fellow firefighters because he has always loved the sport and the game is for a great cause.
“A game like that becomes very personal,” Richard said, although it is a “friendly, fun” game to participate in. “It’s a great time to get out there” on the field.
After the game ended, Richard said the Blues and Blaze joined forces again and were on the same team.
Diane Carter attended the game Saturday night to cheer on the Blaze because her brother is a fireman. She said she enjoys the game because she likes “seeing everyone get along” along with seeing the “camaraderie between the policemen and the firefighters.”
Robert Tyler, who works for Lee County EMS came out to the game Saturday night to help support all of the guys he works with by cheering both teams on. He said he usually attends the Gene Griffith Memorial Football Game every year.
“I work with a lot of the guys,” he said. “I wanted to show them some support and have a good time.”
Interim Chief of Police Jay Murphy also attended the game to show his support and help cheer on the Blues. He said he enjoys attending the game every year because “the officers and firefighters donate their time and engage in a friendly competition, while benefiting two charities.
The Semi-Pro Carnage Football Team performed a field goal kicking demo and passing scrimmage during half-time. The Carnage Dance Team also did a special performance during halftime.
The annual game is named after late firefighter Gene Griffith, according to officials. Griffith was a big advocate of the event and coached the Blaze with his brother for a few seasons. He lost a battle with cancer three years ago.