The brother of injured West Webster firefighter Joseph Hofstetter is playing a part in giving back. Dave Hofstetter is using the game of kickball to raise money for the firefighter families impacted by the Christmas Eve shooting.
It's the grade school playground game many of us grew up playing.
"You don't have to be super athletic to play kickball and everyone knows how to play," said player Russ Vent.
Kickball is also a passion of Dave's. The Nacka Kickball League owner's brother Joe was shot in the pelvis during the Christmas Eve ambush on Lake Road that left two firefighters dead and injured a fourth.
"I got that phone call that Joe had been shot and you needed to go to the hospital," said Dave. "I can't really explain it, but I'll tell you I appreciate everybody's support, community support and all that stuff because it's something."
Dave says it's that support that inspired him to give back through a game that people enjoy.
"Besides the fact that he's my brother, I myself was an Explorer at the West Webster Fire Department so I kind of like, growing up, was a part of that community," said Dave.
Hofstetter organized the all-day indoor kickball tournament where money raised will go the West Webster Volunteer Firemen's Association Fund as well a portion of the league's Spring registration fees. Dozens came out to the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester for the cause and the good time.
"We both grew up in Webster, going to Webster schools, and it's a tragic situation and we're coming out trying to do the best we can and help everybody out and have some fun," said player Brian Lawler.
Dave says his brother's road to recovery is not over.
"He just has a long, long, road ahead of him unfortunately," said Dave.
He says what is fortunate is the support from fundraisers like this which have taken place throughout the community. It is something he says the family is forever grateful for.
"We can't say enough of the ultimate gratitude we have for what everyone has done for us and continues to do. It's something amazing and I'm sure it's something I will never forget for the rest of my life," said Dave.
Joe Hofstetter released a statement saying:
"No words can adequately express our family's gratitude for the outpouring of support, encouragement and generosity we've received from the community. Everyone's prayers and selfless gestures have carried us through a very challenging time. You have all made a very special and everlasting impact on our lives.
This community should be proud of the way everyone rallied during an intense time of need, and we are humbled and honored to be part of it.
Our hearts remain heavy with sorrow for the loss of two beloved friends, Chip and Tomasz. They were both incredible firefighters, and even better men. We will always remember them, and our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to their families."
With sincere appreciation and gratitude,
Joe Hofstetter and family