'Hoopin’ For a Hero' to Benefit Park Forest Police Officer Tim Jones [10/16/2017]
The Prairie State College Athletic Department will host, “Hoopin’ For A Hero”, a charity basketball game to benefit injured police officer Tim Jones of the Park Forest Police Department, at 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, in the PSC Fieldhouse (at 100 197th Place in Chicago Heights, Ill.).
The contest will pit the PSC men’s basketball team against an assembled squad of police officers from various south suburban departments.
Tickets for the event will be $10 for adults and $5 for children, students and senior citizens (purchase here). All of the proceeds from the game will go directly to Jones, who suffered a gunshot wound while in the line of duty in March 2016.
The game is the brainchild of PSC Director of Athletics and former Chicago Bear Chris Zorich, who has built a well-deserved reputation of helping the needy and less fortunate in the Chicagoland area throughout his twenty-plus years of being in the public eye.
“Our athletic department here at Prairie State College wanted to improve the relationship between our athletes and the south suburban community,” Zorich said. “We wanted to find a way our student-athletes could interact with our community members and our first responders. What better way than to have a friendly basketball game between our basketball team and members of our local police departments?”
“We immediately thought of Tim Jones from Park Forest. Spending time with Tim’s father, William Jones, Chief of the Country Club Hills Police Department, reinforced the need for us to help our community members when we can.”
PSC head men’s basketball coach Mike Manderino echoed Zorich’s sentiments.
“This is a great cause,” Manderino said. “It’s great for our kids and the community. Hopefully we can make this an annual event.”
Participating in the contest will be law enforcement personnel from Park Forest, PSC, Country Club Hills and Chicago Heights.
In addition to the basketball game, there will also be a halftime free-throw shooting contest. The winner of the contest will receive a basketball signed by the 2017-2018 Chicago Bulls.
The 25-year-old Jones, who had served less than a year with the Park Forest Police Department, was shot in the head on March 19, 2016 while responding to a burglary call. The former football standout at Tinley Park High School and the University of Indianapolis went through an extensive stay at the Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center and is still making progress with hopes of returning to police work in the future.
Jones’ father, William, serves as the Chief of Police in Country Club Hills, and is more than grateful for the support his son, family and Park Forest police have received.
"The biggest blessing is having my son Tim still here living life,” Jones said. “Although difficult at times, Tim still maintains that beautiful smile and optimistic outlook on life. Tim continues to work hard daily, and still has the mindset that he will one day be back to work with his fine police department. Our journey is far from over, but with the Lord’s guidance and strength, we will overcome. Thank you very much to all of those that have been there with their kind words, thoughts, prayers and support.”
The PSC men’s basketball team is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) as well as the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC).