MARION (WSIL) — The Southern Illinois Miners have once again paid tribute to the men and women of law enforcement by hosting its fourth annual ‘Stand Up For Blue’ night at Rent One Park in Marion.
The team has played host to the event since 2016 just days after Carbondale police officer Trey Harris was shot during a car chase which left him with permanent damage in one eye. Harris went on to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the inaugural event days later.
Marion police chief David Fitts threw out the first pitch in this year’s event, telling News 3 that tragedy has a way of bringing unity.
"When they see that one of us is hurt and our family is hurting it just brings everybody together," Fitts said. "An event like this just sheds light on it and makes it a positive event for everyone."
Law enforcement agencies from 30 different departments in southern Illinois were given tickets to get into the park, including Illinois State Police District 13, police from Marion, Herrin, Carbondale, Johnston City, and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office.
The first 500 fans were given free t-shirts that read ‘Stand Up For Blue’ and children got to ride in several police cruisers including a state police motorcycle which is one of the last such vehicles in the state.