thompson and johnson

Dawson County EMS Director Danny Thompson, left, shakes hands with Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson at the conclusion of Guns & Hoses 2019, a friendly bed-building competition between first responders.

Dawson’s first responders battle it out for a good cause

BY DENISE RAY. PHOTOS BY DENISE RAY
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Dawson County first responders battled more than crime and fire at Atlanta Motorsports Park August 3.

Armed with saws, sanders and stain, Dawson County Sheriff’s Office personnel competed against members of the Dawson County Emergency Services in a bed-building contest. The match was to benefit Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP), a local nonprofit that helps children in need.

Skip Sevier, president of the Dawsonville chapter of SHP, coordinated the event dubbed “Guns ‘N Hoses” and supervised the friendly rivalry. “They started with materials for 35 beds,” Sevier said. “By the time they’re through we will have them put together. We’re counting beds not bunks.”

At one point Team Guns had built 11 headboards with Team Hoses 6, Sevier announced. “Because of the assembly line, we can build 20 beds in two hours,” Sevier explained.

Friendly “smack talk” was overheard from both Team Guns, wearing black t-shirts and Team Hoses, wearing red ones. Neither team wanted to make an official “smack talk” statement.

It was neck and neck as the assembly lines produced bunk bed components with Sheriff Johnson and Chief Danny Thompson working alongside their respective crews. The only smoke came from the branding iron which both Thompson and Johnson used to burn the SHP logo into headboards.

In a matter of less than two hours, a winner was declared, with Team Guns running out of materials with 35 completed parts before Team Hoses completed 36.

“There’s a full-blown cheating scandal,” Thompson said jokingly. “I want a list of everybody’s name and badges.” He added that he wanted the GBI to do a full investigation into the outcome when it seemed Team Guns had won, but quickly withdrew his request when Team Hoses was declared the winning group.

“What a truly memorable experience,” Johnson said. “We have participated in some enjoyable benefits over the years, but the atmosphere at this event seemed different. Whether it was the friendly spirit of competition or serving with so many public safety brothers and sisters, this event won't soon be forgotten. It was special.”

Thompson too was humbled by the experience. “It was an honor to participate in this great community event,” he said. “Anytime we can help those in our community and be able to give back, I’m all in.”

The 70 beds that were built during the event will go to local children. In addition to the beds, children will receive a mattress, pillow, linens and comforter which are also donated. If a person wanted to sponsor an entire bed, including everything, it’s $350, Sevier said. SHP is a 501c3 so donations may be tax deductible. “We love having donations of linens,” Sevier said. “The Bed-in-a-Bag sets are ideal.”

There are several donation bins set up within the county: the Sheriff’s Office (19 Tucker Ave.), Fire Station 1 (33 Memory Lane), Fire Station 2 (145 Liberty Drive), Fire Station 6 (2142 Hubbard Rd.) and the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce (44 Commerce Drive). Twin-size bed linens and/or pillows are needed.

Monetary donation can be made on the organization website www.shpbeds.org and a receipt is mailed to the donor within minutes, according to Sevier. Requesting a bed can be completed on the SHP website. Anyone wishing to donate linens should do so by contacting @shpbeds.org. SHP has an on-going sponsorship with Fred’s Beds donates 10 mattresses each month for a year.

“Dawson County kids are sleeping on the floor and people are not aware of that,” Sevier said.

Both Team Hoses and Team Guns are ready to battle again and in fact, some of the “smack talk” has started. “We always enjoy some friendly competition with our brother and sisters at the Sheriff’s Office, even if we did win again,” said Thompson.

tennant and dobbs

Firefighters from Station 6 Meghann Tennant and Gary Dobbs stain the wood with a mixture of vinegar in which steel wool has been dissolved into and rusts, creating the inexpensive and nontoxic brown stain.

team guns

Team Guns pose with the autographed headboard that became the coveted trophy.

team hoses

Members of Team Hoses surround Chief Danny Thompson as they are declared the winners of “Guns ‘N Hoses” 2019.

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