OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — More first responders around the Kansas City, Missouri, area died in 2020 than any single year since 2003 when the KC Metropolitan Crime Commission formed an organization to help their surviving family members.
Car crashes, COVID-19, fires and a shooting claimed the lives of seven active-duty first responders in 2020, according to Chief Jan Zimmerman with Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund (SAFE).
“Last year was the most devastating year we’ve had in the history of the program,” Zimmerman said.
SAFE gives $25,000 to families of first responders killed in the line of duty to help stabilize their immediate financial needs.
“Our benefit is there to allow them to buy groceries, and pay rent, and all the important things as life goes on after the tragedy of losing their loved one,” Zimmerman said.
To make matters worse, the organization was unable to host its flagship fundraising event in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Kansas City Guns N Hoses returns Saturday. The event pits firefighters and paramedics against police officers and sheriff’s deputies in state-sanctioned exhibition boxing matches.
First responders who choose to fight work with coaches and trainers for months prior to fight night in order to make the event as safe as possible.
“It’s like a brotherhood and a sisterhood,” Landon Prideaux said. “You’ve got all your family there. Some friendly competition is always fun.
The 22-year-old paramedic works for Johnson County, Kansas, Med-Act and will be fighting Saturday. A natural-born athlete who participated in youth gymnastics, Prideaux followed her father into public service. He was a Kansas Highway Patrol major.
Off the clock, the younger Prideaux picked up boxing and other combat sports after visiting a gym, now called The Dungeon, in Lawrence.
“It’s a challenge and it’s good for getting your aggression out,” she said, “but also it’s cool to see what your body is capable of that you didn’t think it was.”
So far, Prideaux has two victories and one loss in three amateur fights. She’s never participated in Guns N Hoses, but said she looks forward to Saturday’s opportunity.
“Punching a bag is so much different than punching someone and getting punched,” she said. “The bag doesn’t punch back. Getting punched, it just brings a whole, like, your adrenaline, your fight or flight, it is insane sometimes.”
Guns N Hoses will take place on Saturday at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Doors open to the public at 5:30 p.m., and fights begin at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available online and at Municipal’s box office. Prices range from $25 general admission to $155 for a ringside seat.
Before the fights, organizers will pay tribute to these seven lives lost in 2020 with a special ceremony:
Originally Appeared Here