FDNY firefighters from Engine 286/Ladder 135 — also known as the Myrtle Turtles — and NYPD officers from the 104th Precinct laced up their basketball sneakers for a friendly game of hoops in front of a sold-out crowd at Martin Luther School in Maspeth on April 28.
The Myrtle Turtles dominated the first half of the game, but after a hard-fought second half, the NYPD team emerged victorious, winning the game 49-38 and earning bragging rights.
Tickets to the event were $10 and visitors had the chance to buy raffle tickets and win one of the 13 gift baskets, which included a basketball signed by legendary basketball coach Lou Carnesecca, who coached the St. John’s University basketball team and New York Nets for three seasons.
The Glendale Kiwanis organized the charity basketball game as a token of appreciation for first responders, with proceeds from the game and raffle going to the 104th Precinct and FDNY. The April 28 match was the first charity basketball game hosted by Glendale Kiwanis since 1995.
Glendale Kiwanis President Bruce Kramer shared that the idea for the fundraiser was born when he needed an ambulance and EMTs arrived within the first five minutes.
“I decided let’s have a fundraiser for them,” Kramer said. “It’s just something you want to do for our local first responders.”
City Councilman Robert Holden, who represents Maspeth, enjoyed the match-up between New York City’s bravest and finest.
“Let’s have a great game,” Holden, who is also a member of Glendale Kiwanis, said before the game began.
Jim Regan, executive director of Martin Luther School, said the game was a great opportunity to bring the community together while supporting New York City’s everyday heroes.
“It’s probably the best ticket in town and the least expensive, knowing that the money’s going to a worthy cause,” Regan, who is also the president of Maspeth Kiwanis, said.
Joe Miraglia, a member of the Liberty Kiwanis Club in Brooklyn, said the event was a great way to give back to the first responders, especially after what they experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think this should be done way more often with all the precincts, ladders, and engines,” Miraglia said. “And I think that’s a wonderful way to show the community that, you know, the community is here to stay and that everyone is a solid group.”
Bob Kueber’s halftime take was that both teams showed great energy and played “really hard.”
“We love the crowd. A lot of energy here, and we’re enjoying ourselves,” Kueber said. “These guys work for the city, but they also come out and support their community.”