COTTAGE GROVE - A golf outing July 26 at River Oaks Golf Course will raise money for a local citizen group that pays for equipment and training for police and firefighters in Cottage Grove.

The First Responders Golf Benefit is an all-day event that includes golf, food and silent auction.

Organizers said they hope to raise $25,000, which could be used to pay for a second K-9 police dog, an enclosed off-road vehicle for patrolling parks, or a set of turnout gear for full-time firefighters.

Mike Smith of REMAX Results is part of a foursome of Cottage Grove businessmen behind the tournament.

"Every city out there, the police, fire, they're all on pretty tight budget constraints," he said. "We wanted to be able to raise funds to help them in achieving their service to the community."

Proceeds would be turned over to the Cottage Grove Public Safety Board, an all-volunteer organization that functions as a booster club for the police, fire and EMS departments.

The board raises money and accepts donations for equipment and training. In the past they've bought bullet-proof vests for police reserves and an LED speed detection trailer. They've also provided reward money for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of criminals.

Smith and his fellow organizers - Mike Rosin from Edward Jones, Chauncey Charlson from State Farm, and Phil Olson from AMEC Home Loans - stress that it's not too late to sign up.

"We've got quite a few spots that we need to fill in order for us to fully fund our goal of $25,000 to the first responders," Smith said. "We do definitely need a lot of golfers."

The cost is $125 and includes 18 holes of golf, food and cart. Registration begins at 11 a.m., followed by a bag lunch. Shotgun start is at 12:30 p.m., dinner is at 5 p.m.

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