\ For one Saturday afternoon, Fenton firefighters and several Detroit Red Wings were on the same playing field — a softball diamond in Highland.
Fenton’s finest took part in the fifth annual Charity Softball Series hosted by the Joe Kocur Foundation For Children. Instead of turnout gear, the firefighters donned cleats and baseball caps — to honor Jackson Gangwer, a Fenton student who died in April at the age of 12.
Jackson was active in sports and played basketball, football and baseball and he enjoyed being outdoors and hunting. His sister took part in the games by throwing out the first pitch.
Celebrities always come out to support Kocur and this year was no different. The charity softball series featured the Detroit Red Wings alumni, Detroit area celebrities, and firefighters and law enforcement from Milford, Highland, White Lake and Oakland County.
Fenton firefighters who participated were Scott Smith (Jackson’s uncle), Mike Johnson, Josh Sturgis, Dustin Lucius, Nick Will and Paul Bond.
Nick Will, a 14-year veteran of the Fenton Fire Department, played and felt that it was a great way to give back and make money for a charity. He also liked mingling with celebrities in the hockey world.
With the format, there were four teams with the fourth team comprised of local celebrities including past and present Red Wings, announcers, radio personalities and other media. Will’s team included four Fenton firefighters as well as police from Wixom, Northville and White Lake Township. His team’s third game of the day was against the celebrities.
Will said one of the best parts of the day was the fact that Mickey Redmond and Darren Pang from the Red Wings provided the play-by-play of the game. That’s not something that happens every day. As the soreness is finally easing in his muscles, Will recalls how he got a triple in that last game and being grateful to meet the celebrities and honor Jackson at the same time.