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Softball tournament helps Peach County firefighter

Peach County Fire Sergeant, Jamie Smith, has to witness the aftermath at the scene of a lot of fires.

But he never expected it would happen to his own home.

He remembers that phone call from a fellow sergeant.

"He called me," remembers Smith, "and he said,'I'm sorry but it's pretty much burned to the ground."

No one was home at the time of the fire.

After the devastating loss, the other firemen are trying to help put back the pieces.

"We always say the fire department is a brotherhood," says Sergeant Jeffrey Oliver. "In situations like this it really shows."

Even though loss is an unfortunate part of their job, the dynamics change seeing it happen to them firsthand.

"It's a little different when it's one of your own," notes Chief Doles. "All of Fort Valley and Peach County came together and said let's do something to raise some money for him."

The answer was a softball tournament.

However, you do not have to play to contribute to the benefit.

"If you don't want to play softball you can help with concessions," suggests Doles. "If you don't want to do that you can stand out in the stands supporting the men and women out there having a good time!"

Firefighters are heroes to us, but that does not mean they are invincible.

"This is a guy that risks his life every day when he comes to work to protect other people's property," says Oliver. "And here is his stuff that burned... basically to the ground."

The event seemed to put some things in perspective for Smith.

"I really know what these families are going through now-- trying to replace everything and get their homes back. It's tough. But luckily, I had good support behind me."

The first game begins at 8:00 am tomorrow at South Peach Park in Fort Valley.

For more information, contact Gio Blalock at 478-302-9544 or Jeffrey Oliver at 478-447-9075

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