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Softball tournament raises money, spirits following death of firefighters

James Morrison
Delaware Public Media
Moment of silence for Christopher Leach and Jerry Fickes


Dozens of softball teams hit the field at Delcastle Sports Complex Saturday to raise money for the families of Wilmington firefighters who were killed and injured battling a blaze in late September.

Fire and police departments from around the state participated in the Last Alarm Softball Tournament, as well as teams from the private sector.

John Buchanan, with team St. Francis CMS, said the tournament was about more than just fundraising.   

“This is for the people. It’s for the people to kind of come together and -I don’t want to say mourn- but come together and celebrate the life of those that were lost,” he said.

The organizers of the tournament presented the Wilmington Fire Department with a plaque to honor the two firefighters who died: Lt. Christopher Leach and Senior Firefighter Jerry Fickes.  

Teams also held a moment of silence on the field and a group of motorcyclists rode to fire departments around the state getting signatures on four softballs for the families of the firefighters. 

Many players recalled spending time on the softball field with Lt. Leach. 

Two other firefighters were injured in the fire. Ardythe Hope is in worsening condition and Brad Speakman is in stable condition. 

Terri Millis came out to support her husband, who is a Wilmington firefighter. She said everybody coming together is part of the healing process.   

“It’s a brotherhood. All the guys have banded together, they’re thinking about the one cause. It’s like a family.”



The fundraiser is expected to bring in upwards of $10,000 for the families of the four firefighters.


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