Sunday, May 19, 2013
It matters little that the Red Sox are no longer in playoff contention. Gardiner police sergeant Ike Peppard and his fellow officers have been waiting for this day for two years.
AN HONOR: Gardiner police officers rehearse a color guard presentation of flags Thursday in Gardiner. The police are carrying the colors tonight at Fenway Park in Boston.
Staff photo by Andy Molloy
Prior to tonight's game at Fenway Park between the Toronto Blue Jays and Red Sox, six members of the Gardiner police department, including chief James Toman, will present the colors. Peppard and detective Michael Durham applied for the opportunity two years ago.
"I e-mailed them two years ago to get on the list," Peppard said. "There are more requests for the color guard than there are home games."
Peppard, Toman and Durham will be joined by Sgt. Todd Pilsbury and officers Norm Gold and Marcus Neidner. They'll enter from the third baseline and march to second base decked out in their Class A dress uniforms. Three members will carry the U.S. Canadian and State of Maine flags flanked by two riflemen. The sixth member of the color guard will issue commands from the rear of the formation.
"Our department hasn't done anything like this in a long time," Peppard said. "It's more or less a representation of the department and the city."
The Gardiner police, to anyone's knowledge, have never presented the colors at Fenway Park. Peppard said police from Bath, Rumford and Scarborough, among others, have done so as well as the Maine State Police.
"We're all really excited," Peppard said, adding he's been in touch with well-known Fenway bullpen officer Billy Dunn. "We've been waiting for two years."
Peppard and several current and former officers are members of the Gardiner Police Officers Association, a charitable organization not affiliated with the city that has donated funds for youth athletics and activities and to needy families for more than 50 years. The association solicited local merchants and will match their donations, presenting a check for $1,500 to the Jimmy Fund, the Red Sox charity that benefits cancer research.
"We thought how cool would it be to bring something to say thank you," Peppard said.
After the opening ceremonies, the officers, all avid Red Sox fans, will watch the game.
"The way they've been playing there should be plenty of open seats," Peppard said.
Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638