Patrick Roe left an indelible mark on the people of Mahwah Township; a Lieutenant for Fire Co. 2, Roe was described by fellow firefighter Eddie Sinclair as a guy who had a lust for life.
“He was just a funny kind of guy,” Sinclair said. “He was sharp always had something funny to say; he loved to bust people’s chops.”
As was detailed in a Mahwah Patch article from earlier in the week, Roe was killed at the Mahwah Train Station when a train accidentally struck him in March of 2005 as he was on the way home from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hoboken.
For the past six years, Fire Co. 2 has held a charity basketball game to raise scholarship money for Mahwah’s students in his honor.
This year’s version of the contest once again pitted the town’s teachers from the Mahwah Education Association against the Mahwah firefighters at Ramapo Ridge Middle School.
“This is very important. It’s a great showing of support tonight,” said firefighter Joe Begendorf.
“We only had one practice. After the first five minutes I was done, but the importance of this cause pushed us harder all night.”
Even with the somber back-story, the game itself was quite competitive as the teachers won 60-42, to improve to 5-0-1 in the all-time series.
The fire department got off to a very hot start in the opening minutes of the game, as Steve Shuart and Robert Conley knocked down two straight three pointers as Co. 2 opened up a 8-0 lead.
Logic would dictate that the pure athleticism and strength of the fire department would result in a sound victory for Mahwah’s bravest, but that was not the case.
The teachers stormed back to take a 12-11 lead thanks to the efforts of Mike Branagh, who put up seven points, and a huge three pointer by Troy McGilehirst to give the teachers the lead during the 12-1 run.
“I’ve lived here for six years. I didn’t meet Pat, but I got to know of him,” McGilehirst said. “It’s awesome that I work in this community. It’s a great night to give back to the fire department.”
Shuart did the best he could to keep the fire department in the game, he hit a three pointer in the corner to tie the game at 14, and later scored on a drive in the lane to tie it up again at 16, but that was as close as Fire Co. 2 would come for the rest of the night.
The teachers connected on long jumpers and three pointers from Branagh and McGilehirst, and they received great play inside the paint from Mike Davis and Mike DeSocro, making it very hard for Fire Co. 2 to stay in the game.
Davis had five layups and a handful of jumpers in the first half, and played great defense deflecting passes underneath the hoop, as the teachers built a 38-23 halftime lead.
The second half was more of the same. Decoro hit a long range jump shot to open the scoring at 40-25; minutes later Davis drained a three to give the teachers a dominating 18 point advantage.
The fire department received great contributions in the second half from many of their key players. Conley contributed five points, while Ed Garza drained a three gracefully through the nets, and rookie fireman Mike Lafayette connected on a slam dunk to draw Fire Co. 2 to within 55-39.
Once the final buzzer sounded, both teams joined each other for hugs and handshakes as another edition of the Patrick Roe Scholarship game was complete.
Learn how to donate to the fund here.