Police Shooting Team Competition Raises Funds for Cops Battling Cancer

Police Shooting Team Competition Raises Funds for Cops Battling Cancer

By Stephen Owsinski

The rhetoric rings true: law enforcement officers are a resourceful bunch and always put their best foot forward in any venture for the good of others. In this case, using their firearm shooting skills to compete with other police shooting teams in a collective effort to raise money for cops fighting cancer, otherwise titled the 2023 Hero Down Shootout.

This event is the brainchild of military veteran and police Officer Jonathan Daige, whose fundraising page explained that “Team Thin Blue Ridestarted as a cycling team in 2015. We rode 192 miles in the Pan-Mass Challenge for our first-ever cycling event. We have been there for people battling cancer since 2016.”

According to EventCreate.com, “This shootout fundraiser is a 4-man Team Shooting Challenge comprised of a 3-gun style shooting competition with several team building tasks and challenges that must be completed as a team.

“This 2-day event is aimed at two things: To raise money through our sponsors, partners, donors, and attendees as well as provide an excellent team training event bringing competitors together in honor of our [cancer-afflicted] officers.”

The Norwood, Massachusetts police department Pistol Shooting Team, consisting of four police officers, offered us glimpses of the competition and explained the premise and structure behind it all:

“This past weekend, members of the Norwood Police Shooting Team participated in a charity shooting/skills competition. Sergeant Brett Baker, along with Officers Pat Bishop, Sean Jennings, and Tyler Baker represented NPD in this charity competition held at the Ridgeline Training Center in Dalton, NH. The 2-day event was comprised of 10 stages which involved shooting the pistol, shotgun, and rifle from distances ranging from 5 to 350 yards out under challenging scenarios.

(Photo courtesy of the Norwood Police Department.)

“The competition raised over $22,000 for The Thin Blue Line Ride [Thin Blue Ride], a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity, which assists those who are fighting cancer in law enforcement. The funds raised will assist Deputy Ben Campbell of the Worcester County Sheriff’s and Trooper Dana Oliver of the Massachusetts State Police.”

Deputy Ben Campbell of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

According to the Daily Voice, a Worcester County news outlet in Massachusetts, “[Deputy] Campbell is the type of friend everyone hopes to have, according to his loved ones. At a moment’s notice, at any time of day or night, he will be there for you, they said. But now, he’s the one in need, and his friends are lining up to repay the favors.”

Daily Voice reporter Josh Lanier conveyed the familial aspects of Deputy Campbell, saying, he “is a “provider” who, besides working as a full-time Worcester County deputy, also works part-time as a [Reserve] officer with the Lunenburg Police Department to make ends meet for his daughters –12-year-old Madallyn and 10-month-old Millie Margaret – and long-term girlfriend Erin Haley.”

(Photo courtesy of the Thin Blue Ride.)

Former Shirley police officer Jared Yanis is a good friend of Deputy Campbell and intimated how selfless the Worcester County law enforcement officer is: “He’s somebody who’s done something personally and professionally to help this community and he never asked for anything.”

Per Hampden County Sheriff’s Department Corporal Joe Assad, “Ben’s a humble guy. He’s a talented dude with zero ego,” adding, “He’s not the type who’s going to ask for help, but he’s more deserving than just about anyone I can think of. He’s just a good guy.”

Unsure if any of the pistol shooting teams representing various law enforcement agencies know Deputy Campbell personally, but they sure did show up and show out with skills, paying it forward just like the cancer-plagued lawman seems to have done in his community, rooted in paying-it-forward attributes. From all you’ve just read, Deputy Campbell is a giver. Thanks to LEOs he may or may not even know, he is now a receiver.

The recent competition amassed roughly $22,000 to be shared by Deputy Campbell and Trooper Dana Oliver.

From our friends at Thin Blue Ride, Trooper Dana Oliver was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, is a sergeant with the Massachusetts State Police, and has three teenage sons with his wife. He still serves the nation as a Green Beret with the Army National Guard.

(Photo courtesy of the Thin Blue Ride.)

Massachusetts State Police Trooper Oliver is also no stranger to giving and paying it forward. Culling through archives, I located a 2013-recorded photograph depicting (left-to-right) then-State Police Holden Barracks Station Commander Lieutenant James Fogarty, State Senator Michael Moore, US Congressman James McGovern, City of Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty, and Trooper Dana Oliver.

(Photograph courtesy of the Massachusetts State Police.)

The photograph of these public service professionals stemmed from the group paying a visit to military veterans at the Worcester Inc. Veterans Shelter. Trooper Oliver is a US Army veteran.

As well, I came across an image portraying Trooper Oliver and colleagues flanking a young boy who was battling cancer —a youngster who happens to admire police officers— and his mom.

(Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts State Police.)

Besides giving his time and attention to “James,” a youngster facing a major cancer battle, Trooper Oliver brightened the boy’s day/life by bonding, lightening the load of infinite oncology appointments and body-depleting treatments endeavored toward survivorship, perhaps a reunion down the road at the State Police barracks.

That was in April 2015, with Trooper Oliver giving comfort to the boy. Years later, Trooper Oliver, like Deputy Campbell, would be on the receiving end, with a contingent of cops standing with him and giving proceeds from skills competitions, shooting for the skies with a down-to-earth gesture.

On their behalf of these two law enforcement officers engaged in the fight for their lives, with cancer as the cloaked nemesis, the Thin Blue Line Ride (aka Thin Blue Ride) finalized this year’s Pistol Shooting Team competition by posting this:

“Thank you [to all our] shooters, sponsors, organizers, supporters, and donors for making the 2023 Hero Down Shootout a huge success.

(Photo courtesy of Thin Blue Ride.)

“We were able to raise $22,000 for Dana and Ben who are currently battling cancer,” two brave “first responders that would never ask for a dime.

“The problem is that we don’t care [about their pride and] what they think, we are going to help them anyways because they would do the same for us.
“Cancer puts many things in perspective for many people. It is what made me/us start a nonprofit to help cancer warriors.

“Cancer sucks and easing up the financial burden a little bit does take some stress out of the equation.  It was great seeing everyone, and we hope to see everyone in the future.”

We close with words spoken by Deputy Campbell in late June 2023: “I will beat this; I can feel it. I will be back…I’M NOT DONE YET.

“Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your love and support. I will cherish and never forget everyone’s kindness.”