One day a year, Creve Coeur police officer Neal Kohrs leaves his police car, weapons and badge and exchanges them for golf clubs, a baseball cap and a golf car. His outfit may change, but the goal remains the same: Help those in need. It's a scene and sentiment shared by and police.
On Monday, both departments sponsored and played in the annual Greens for Green charity golf tournament. Close to 200 people attended the event at the Annbriar Golf Course in Waterloo, IL.
"It's a fun day," said Kohrs, who is also the organizer of the event for Creve Coeur. "It allows the general public, the business community and the police officers to enjoy each other's company in a joint effort to support local charities. It's nice not having to worry about police work and the things we face as police officers on a day-to-day basis."
The fundraiser benefits several charities, including the Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics, Our Little Haven , but primarily Backstoppers, a St. Louis agency that provides financial support and other aid to families of fallen police officers and firemen.
"It feels great to be out here today. We enjoy doing it," said policeman Paul Wilson, coordinator of the event for the Town and Country Police Department. "I don't know if my wife is ever going to be a beneficiary of BackStoppers. I hope she isn't. But they are there just in case."
The fundraising event has been in place for 12 years, although it began as a volleyball tournament before becoming golf.
"As we progressively got older, our bones weren't in as good of shape, and we were getting hurt too much. So we decided to go switch to golf, and it just took off from there," Wilson said. Every year since they started, they've raised anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000, he said.
Town and Country Mayor Jon Dalton said he was proud of the police departments that organized and participated in the event.
"The police in our community enjoy a level of respect and community connection that is unprecedented," Dalton said. "The fact that they take time beyond their service to the community and go out and raise money for a charity is just above and beyond."
Kohrs said he expects the tournament to have raised more than $15,000 this year, although he did not have an official number at the time of publication. Wilson said he just hopes more people come out in support of this tournament next year.
"We are there supporting them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," Wilson said. "We are out there on Christmas night. We are out there on Easter morning. Being a public servant such as I am, we don't get every holiday off. We don't get nights off. If we get the call, we are there, and we appreciate the community coming through for us."
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