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Guns ‘N’ Hoses

Firefighters and officers to take the ice for local boy’s recovery

Submitted Photo Minot firefighters and police officers who took part in the 2018 charity hockey contest pose for a photo on the ice at Maysa Arena.

The Minot Fire Department and Police Department spend the majority of their time assisting each other on calls out in the field. Come May 15 at 7 p.m., the two departments will go head-to-head.

More specifically, the third annual “Guns ‘N’ Hoses” benefit hockey game at Maysa Arena is scheduled for that date, an event that was started four years ago by Minot firefighter Mike Crisp featuring firefighters, police officers and their family members going at it on the ice for a good cause.

“One of our guys off our men’s league hockey team, his daughter had a severe case of lupus, and we started brainstorming,” Crisp said. “I was like ‘Hey, wouldn’t mind if we got the fire department and the police department involved.’ It wasn’t an overnight thing, but it took about a couple weeks’ worth of thinking, and ‘Guns ‘N’ Hoses’ came to be.”

The game became an annual tradition, with the benefits from the contest going to help out someone in the community who is in need of the raised funds. This year, the proceeds from the contest will go toward helping the recovery of a local four-year-old boy by the name of Harris Olafson.

Last year, Harris, then three years old, was involved in a farming accident and sustained a serious injury to his left foot. He was immediately taken to Minot’s Trinity Hospital for evaluation, and the physicians determined he would need higher-level care than they could provide.

They reached out to a handful of other hospitals, and St. Paul, Minnesota’s Regions Hospital was the first to respond. Harris and his mother, Kaylee, were airlifted to St. Paul immediately, and his father, Clinton, later jumped on a flight to meet his family there.

Six hours after their arrival in Minnesota, Harris emerged from emergency surgery with a long road to recovery ahead of him.

Enter Crisp and the Minot Fire Department.

When Crisp had heard of Harris’ accident last year, he knew they had to help out. This was the very purpose for which he had started the event, after all.

“Oh gosh, a lot of crying,” Kaylee said of her family’s reaction to the department’s offer to help. “We were just overwhelmed with gratitude about how much the community wanted to help us.”

“It was a busy month of gifts and donations, it was overwhelming,” Clinton added.

The game was originally scheduled for last spring, closer to when the accident originally occurred, but sudden rise of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back. Crisp wanted to give the Olafson family as much help as he and his fellow firefighters and police officers could muster, and with more and more vaccines going into arms, the event was finally given the green light this month.

“Now that it’s happening, we were mentally prepared for this charity event to happen last year, and then COVID happened,” Kaylee recalled. “And now it’s bringing back all those emotions, so we get that overwhelming feeling of how people still are thinking of us and want to help us out any way they can.”

The price of admission is $5 for anyone interested in attending, with those five years old and younger allowed in at no cost. In addition to the game, there will be a fill-the-boot donation opportunity at the door for those interested in donating more than the cost of the ticket, a silent auction, and a 50-50 raffle that will be held during the contest.

Among the items at the silent auction will be autographed University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks jerseys, furniture donated from Ike’s Heating and Cooling, Minnesota Wild merchandise, and various gift cards. The game will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening approximately an hour prior to the opening puck drop.

Crisp recalled great turnouts and thousands of dollars raised in previous years, and hopes to set a new record for both this year. The proceeds will help soften the cost for Harris’ ongoing treatment and recovery, as well as the frequent travel the Olafson family must make to Minnesota.

“It’s definitely going to help with the medical bills,” Kaylee said. “He had multiple surgeries in the time we were there, and then we do go back to Minnesota frequently. Sometimes we drive, for this next appointment coming up we’re going to fly. And then he does have physical therapy that he still goes to. He also wears a brace, and every six to nine months we have to get his brace re-evaluated, so that’s another trip back to Minnesota. It’s just a lot of traveling costs and bills that slowly add up.”

Harris still has multiple surgeries ahead of him as well, but he is in good spirits and remains grateful for the fire and police departments’ support.

Said Harris, “I’m very excited they’re playing hockey for me!”

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