Competition celebrates safety workers

DULUTH - Coming back to reclaim their title from a team of rookie Fire Department recruits, members of the Duluth Raiders won the 9-11 Olympix - a competition featuring sponge relays and the tug-of-war - for the second time in three years.

Competition was fierce between the Raiders, who captured third place last year, and the Hawg Squad, another team of Duluth officers. The Hog Squad took third place in this year's competition and Master Patrol Officer Jeremy Lacow said the team would be back again to fight for the title.

"Next year, we're going to take it all," Lacow said. "We take competition very seriously in the police department."

Only four teams participated in the annual event this year because it coincided with a law enforcement appreciation day, said Suzanne Geske, executive director of the Foster Children's Foundation. The event raised $25,000 for the group, she said.

Olympix participants - which included members of the county's Community Emergency Response Team and a team cobbled together from volunteers and a group from Wild Bill's - said they had a great time participating in events like the dizzy bat relay. But there was also a somber side to the morning, which commemorates the Sept. 11 attacks.

As he asked for a moment of silence to remember the fallen rescue workers, Gwinnett Daily Post Publisher J.K. Murphy - the Post sponsored the event - thanked the police officers and others who work in public safety.

"In some ways, it seems like an age ago, but it sometimes seems like it just happened yesterday," Murphy said. "Most of us remove ourselves from danger, but many of you have just the opposite instinct. You go to where the danger is to protect the others."