Rowlett Strong will hold its first annual bowling tournament for first responders on Aug. 1 at Bowl-A-Rama.
The event will be closed to include only first responders and their families.
“This is just a way for them to cut loose and have fun,” Rowlett resident Sharon Phillips said. “Rowlett Strong is paying for the bowling and the shoes. It's just a way to show their appreciation.”
Rowlett Strong will also supply food and drinks for the first responders who attend. They also plan to host a tournament between the police and fire departments. The winning team will receive a trophy, and there will be door prizes to be raffled off.
“It's always important to show appreciation—especially in these days and times,” Phillips said. “The police especially are having a hard time. They don't get nearly enough appreciation for what they do.”
Phillips talked about how important it is recognizing how police officers risk their lives for residents daily.
“I know there are some bad officers, but I would say the majority of them are good,” she said. “I have worked closely with the Police department, and they're good officers. It breaks my heart to see what they have to go through on a daily basis, and it's important to me to boost their morale and know that there are people who do support and appreciate them.”
The organizer, Steve Walker started Rowlett Strong and began hosting events for first responders after a Dec. 26, 2019 tornado.
“It started after our first responders worked tirelessly—pretty much nonstop with the devastation of the tornado, being out and directing traffic and keeping roads blocked and protecting people and just a lot of different things,” Phillips said. “Steve Walker saw how hard they were working, and people don't show their appreciation really as often as people should.”
Phillips said Walker wanted to let residents have a way to show appreciation for the city’s first responders.
“There are a lot of people who want to thank the first responders, but they don't know how to do that,” Phillips said. “This gives them an outlet to do that.”
Walker hosts at least two events each year. In addition to the upcoming bowling tournament, Rowlett strong held a Christmas dinner for the police and fire departments in 2020.
“We had a really good turnout for that,” Phillips said. “It started the year before last getting into the annual events like the Christmas dinner. That is at least two things a year for them, but we're thinking of other things too. It's a work in progress.”