Essex County Heroes concludes second great year on the court

Filed under: Sports |

_EssexCountyHeroesby Fred Groves

The name is fitting–Heroes.

For two years, a group of volunteers, led by Essex (M) Ontario Provincial Police Community Policing Officer, Constable Sean MacKinnon, have been shooting hoops at Essex District High School.
Joining them on the court have been more than 20 athletes from Community Living Essex County.

“For the past two years, in conjunction with Community Living, we’ve had a non-competitive league,” MacKinnon said.

It’s no secret that police in this province are a huge supporter, not only financially but with their time, to the Ontario Special Olympics program.

“Basketball is indoors so weather is not a factor. For anyone with a physical impairment, it’s an easy sport to do,” MacKinnon added.

Last Tuesday night, his fellow officers challenged the players from Community Living in a fun, but spirited game. It was the final game of the year as many of the athletes move on now to play baseball.

MacKinnon was pleased so many of the police officers could come out and show their support.

Debbie Alexander of Community Living Essex County helps organize the Tuesday night games. She said it started in Essex last year simply because there was no more space over in Amherstburg, where the Essex County Heroes program began.

“Everyone looks forward to Tuesday night basketball. It’s a chance for everyone to get together and no one is segregated. That’s the most important thing,” Alexander commented.

The Essex County Heroes Athletic Club was formed in 2004 by Mike Cox, of the Amherstburg Police, and Michelle Jones-Rousseau, whose son, Kyle, was and continues to be an avid basketball player.

“We wanted to have it where everyone could be involved. If they don’t want to play and just socialize, that’s okay,” she said.

Heroes is not just a program where police officers and developmentally challenged athletes get together to play. Jones-Rosseau said everyone is welcome.

And while it is a friendly, non-competitive game these folks play, keep an eye on MacKinnon because he is the one who keeps score.