Over the weekend the Merrill Fire Department held their 39th annual Merrill Firefighters Charities Allan Soward Memorial Tournament at Otts Park in Merrill.
The tournament started Friday night and would run through Sunday, with Plautz’s Pub taking home first place, knocking out Grandpa’s Grill in the final game by a score of 11-3. With Plautz’s Pub taking first it marks the first time in the past five years that the Baja’s team did not win the tournament, however they would finish with a respectable fourth place.
On Sunday the Merrill Fire Department held the annual kids game featuring teams Fire Pup and team Smokey. The kids game would end in a high scoring tie with a final score of 300-300.
This tournament is more than softball as it helps support great causes. Firefighter, EMT and Tournament Coordinator, Jon Leiskau said, “The total money raised over the 39 year history of the tournament is somewhere in the range of $450,000. Since changing the name from MDA in which all proceeds went to MDA and changing it to Merrill Firefighters Charities in 2012, the charities has donated nearly $60,000 back to the Merrill community.”
When asked about specific charities Jon replied, “The charities have donated to numerous individuals dealing with life threatening illnesses/injuries, families that suffered significant loses from fires, the Riverbend Trail project, Safe Ride Home program, Honor Flight, the highschool graduation celebration, Northwoods Veterans Post, numerous youth activity events, Gazebo Nights, open swim days at the Bierman Aquatic Center. This list is off the top of my head and I am sure there are other things we donate to. Usually donations are in $500 to $1,000 increments. The goal of our donations is to help continue making Merrill a great place to live and raise a family.”