Helen Keller Basketball Challenge: Firefighters win buzzer-beater for charity | PHOTOS

Pictured: Federal Way City Councilwoman Linda Kochmar; FW Lions president Roger Hershey; Lions member Carolyn Harestad; Fire Chief Al Church. - Courtesy photo
Pictured: Federal Way City Councilwoman Linda Kochmar; FW Lions president Roger Hershey; Lions member Carolyn Harestad; Fire Chief Al Church.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Courtesy of Bob Darrigan, Federal Way Lions

A good crowd sat on the edge of their bleacher seats during the last three minutes of the 4th Annual Helen Keller Basketball Challenge between South King Fire and Rescue and the Federal Way Police Department.

Bruce Hubbard sprung to his feet beyond the 3-point line and sunk what was to be the winning basket for SKFR. His team methodically chipped away a substantial lead by the FW Police to finally bring an end to a three-year losing drought. The score was 69-66 — and was SKFR's first win. A partisan crowd went crazy with excitement.   The results were reminiscent to the first time both teams met four years ago. At that time, the final buzzer sounded as the ball carved through the air and swished through the basket, giving Federal Way’s Finest Blue its first of three wins.

Both teams congratulated each other with friendly handshakes and joined in applause for Corby Nunich, the Defensive Player of the Game, and Officer Kelly Smith, the Offensive Player of the Game, and Andy Hwang, Deputy Chief of Police, as he graciously received the Better Luck Next Year memento.

The traveling revolving trophy was presented by Lion President Roger Hershey and sponsor Lion Carolyn Harestad, Professional Hearing and Speech, to the winning team's coach, Fire Chief Al Church.

During halftime, the audience witnessed Mike Schaub from the SKFR team sink 13 consecutive foul shots, dubbing him the first Basketball Shoot Off Champion in a contest sponsored by the Federal Way Mirror.

The event was free to the public, but donations were accepted.

All net proceeds will be split between the FW Lions Sight and Hearing Fund and other community needs. Proceeds will also go to the Federal Way Police Guild and SKFR Foundation. Both the police guild and the SKFR Foundation are donating their funds to assist firefighter Wynn Loiland, who was in a horrific accident last November while on an emergency call on I-5.

Lion President Hershey, who is a former fire commissioner, praised all the volunteers who made this historic event memorable.  Thanks go out to Mayor Skip Priest; Federal Way City Councilwoman Linda Kochmar, master of ceremonies; Corby Hunich, scorekeeper; and Rick Froman, referee; Beverly Tripplet, Shannon Morena, Anna Stockton, judges. Hershey acknowledged the vital support of the many business owners including Java Billiards; American Family Insurance, Karl Kuntz, owner; Reach Out; Walmart; David Bryan; Banner Bank; Robert J. Darrigan, Shelgren Financial Group; Federal Way School District; Mail, Copy and More; Office Max; Bob Bjorneby’s CARSTAR Federal Way Collision; Entertainment Publications; Images Hair Design; Perkins N W Accounting; David Bryan; and FW Knights Lions.

The Federal Way Police Department and South King Fire and Rescue also donated a number of outstanding prizes.  He noted the efforts of the Junior ROTC members from Federal Way and Todd Beamer high schools; and the young smiling, hardworking Kiwanis Key Club members from Thomas Jefferson High School.

Those who attended, will never forget the voice of Danielle Hunich as she elegantly sang the national anthem.  Like the game, she was breathtaking!


South King Fire and Rescue:


Federal Way Police Department:

FW police


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