Brennan Angel

Cal Poly fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha and seven sororities stepped up to the plate this weekend, literally.

Sunday marked the first Emergency Services Appreciation Day, in which Cal Poly’s greek life teamed up with local police officers and firefighters to play in a charity softball game that benefited the Bence Family Austyn Bence Memorial Fund. All the money raised will be donated to the fund. The event was held at Santa Rosa Park and also recognized the members of the San Luis Obispo police and fire departments.

“Baby Austyn,” as he was affectionately referred to by those in the county, passed away in March due to the rare genetic bone disorder, malignant infantile osteopetrosis. Because of the rarity of the disease his parents tried many expensive medical procedures that were considered experimental, so they were not covered by their health insurance. Kevin Bence, Austyn’s father, is a Cal Poly alumnus. The money raised for the event will help Austyn’s parents pay for these medical expenses. Pi Kappa Alpha philanthropy chair, Nicholas Leone, came up with the idea to hold Emergency Services Appreciation Day. With the help of the Cal Poly Community Center, he was able to plan the event and get his fraternity to team up with the sororities and members of the police and fire departments.

“I wanted to help out the Bence Family,” Leone said. “I’ve known Kevin and Jennifer Bence for a few years now-they are such sweet people and deserve as much help as they can get.

“Nationally, Alpha Phi Omega has a long history with working closely with the police,” he said. “It was our chance to thank the police and fire department for all they do in the community, and cultivate a good relationship between us.”

The 16 softball teams were made up of 10 sorority members, and five members of the San Luis Obispo Police Department, San Luis Obispo Fire Department, and the University Police Department. It was a single elimination tournament.

“Part of being greek is to take part in events that help the community,” Alpha Chi Omega President, Stephanie Bottger said. “This was a great chance for us to come out and show our support for our community.” Bottger’s sorority was one of seven that participated in the softball tournament.

Besides the softball game, Pi Kappa Alpha also had a variety of other activities to partake in, such as fast-pitch booths with University Police radar guns and an all-you-can-eat hotdog roast. The barbecue fed over 1,000 community members.

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