Friday, April 12, 2024

Battle Between Blairstown’s Bravest and Finest Drew SRO Crowd to Cheer Charity Basketball

Photos by J. Phalon, 3/2023

Despite a strong second half, Blairstown’s Bravest could not overcome the lead Blairstown’s Finest built in the first half of the Battle of Guns and Hoses charity basketball game March 30.

The Blairstown Police Department’s team notched a 49-32 win over the fire department.

The event, held in the gym at Blairstown Elementary School, unfolded to a standing-room-only crowd, who seemed evenly split in their loyalties although many could be seen cheering on both sides.

While an ambulance from the Blairstown Ambulance Corps stood by outside the gym, there were no injuries requiring emergency services reported although there were any number of complaints of aches and pains for formerly underutilized muscles that were called into service for the game.

More than $3,000 was raised by the event, and the proceeds will benefit the Police Unity Tour for fallen police officers.

The organization was formed in 1997 by Florham Park Police Officer Patrick Montoure, who organized a four-day bicycle tour from New Jersey to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

What started with 18 riders has now expanded to nine chapters with more than 2,600 members. In 2022, the organization donated $2 million the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, bringing the total donations to more than $22 million since the organization was founded.

The Police Unity Tour is the sponsor of the National Law Enforcement Museum’s Hall of Remembrance, the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award and other special programs. The tour is organized at the local level by Blairstown Police Cpl. Jarret Bisanzio.

The last leg of the journey ends at the memorial, where the participants are greeted by friends, family and survivors. Once there, many Police Unity Tour members present remembrance bracelets worn on their wrists throughout the journey to the families of the fallen.

In May 2022, the Police Unity Tour was proud to donate $2 million to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, bringing the total donations to more than $33 million since its inception.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.