NEW CASTLE, Ind. — The inside of the New Castle Fieldhouse was filled with the sound of school spirit.
“Richmond and New Castle used to be in the same conference. So it was a big rivalry,” said Jason Williams, New Castle parent.
“It’s like chills because it’s just high school rivalries. You’ll always have it, you’ll have it with every sport,” said Brandy Brown, parent fund treasurer of the New Castle Volleyball Club, “but it’s just nice to see that they’re all, they know what they’re doing out there.”
Prior to the game, both teams did warm-ups and posed for pictures in shirts reading “2 Teams… 1 Cause”, symbolizing both coming together for Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton.
It’s been a little more than two weeks since the 4-year veteran and K-9 officer was shot during a traffic stop on August 10th. Since then, she’s been in a Dayton hospital, fighting for her life.
“I honestly just couldn’t imagine the tragedy,” Brown said. “She was out there to help someone, and it’s just heartbreaking.”
Williams, who has a daughter on the New Castle team, is also a K-9 handler for the Henry County Sheriff’s Office. While looking at the team’s schedule, he said it was only right to find a way to help with Richmond playing on their home turf.
He reached out to Brown, who said they were able to use extra money from the parent fund to buy custom t-shirts and wristbands to sell at Thursday’s game in Officer Burton’s honor.
“As a fellow officer and fellow K-9 officer, I feel that’s the least I could do,” said Williams.
“In a couple weeks time, it’s really come together,” he said. “With the two teams, it made sense. Two teams, one cause, the two teams battling it out for Seara.”
All proceeds from the sales will go directly to Officer Burton and her family.
“A lot of people think all of the hospital bills and things are taken care of, but there’s a lot of expense that goes along with everything that’s going on with Seara that’s not covered,” Williams said. “We want to make sure that we do our part to help her out and help her family out.”
Along with the teams and spectators, local law enforcement was also in attendance Thursday, dressed in uniform to show support.
“They’re just all a family, and that’s what they do, and that I feel like should make everybody feel even safer,” said Brown. “Even in their off time, they’re here. They’re always available to support any of them when anything goes on.”
In response to the support and solidarity, Williams said it’s encouraging to see communities come together and lift each other up during times of tragedy.
“It shows we live in a society where people still care,” he said. “They care about the police. They care about what happens to us on the street, and when one of us gets hurt, the community suffers. They really do.”
Williams said they are still taking t-shirt and wristband orders. If you’re interested, you can contact him on Facebook.