Standing near an ambulance full of food are Ripon EMS members, from left, Ryan Huser, Derik Siedschlag, Bob Baumgardt, John Teachout, Josh Schmidt, Randy Meyers, Jamie Prellwitz, Janet Koehler, Jane Kollin and Laura Krueger.
Standing near an ambulance full of food are Ripon EMS members, from left, Ryan Huser, Derik Siedschlag, Bob Baumgardt, John Teachout, Josh Schmidt, Randy Meyers, Jamie Prellwitz, Janet Koehler, Jane Kollin and Laura Krueger.

   What can two rivals accomplish by joining forces?

   For the Ripon and Berlin high school boys’ basketball teams, the answer is uniting communities to honor emergency personnel and collecting food for the needy.

   The two squads teamed up for Emergency Services Recognition Night last week Friday in Ripon.

   Firefighters, police officers and EMS members from both cities were invited to attend so they could be recognized.

   The idea came about when Ripon head coach Steve Brooks and his assistant coaches were talking in the offseason about wanting to do something special.

   And they thought, what better time than against Berlin?

   It marks the second-straight year that the Tigers brought awareness to a community cause.

   Last year, they raised money for the family of then-junior varsity player Garrett Mitchell, whose father was beginning a fight with cancer.

   "[We wanted to recognize] people that are often overlooked in our community and making these kids understand that, while they get the spotlight and get to be on the floor on Friday nights in front of a lot of people, there are a lot of people behind the scenes that don’t get the recognition that they should,” Brooks said of the thinking behind the event. “… Berlin was able to join us and help out and just bring recognition to the emergency personnel that served both of our communities.”

   Read the full column, which includes information about special one-time uniforms that Ripon wore and presented to each of the departments, in the Jan. 10, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.