Community holds charity softball game for family of fallen Norton Shores officer

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NORTON SHORES, Mich. -- It was a fitting tribute to a West Michigan police officer who died on the job earlier this year. Officer Jonathan Ginka from the Norton Shores police department was killed in May after his cruiser crashed into a tree.

On Thursday, the community came together to raise money for the wife and two daughters he left behind.

Ross Park was filled with people Thursday night. It's a place Officer Ginka passed every day while on patrol.

"It just seemed like an obvious choice for a softball tournament," said Norton Shores Police Chief John Gale.

It was a tournament where four teams made up of Norton Shores Police and Firefighters, Coast Guard and Army rounded the bases in honor of Officer Ginka.

"We needed to do something to honor his family, to honor his service and give the community a chance to give back to somebody who was ultimately given their life for this community," said SFC Alex Gellman, US Army.

"We wanted to support the family of Officer Ginka," said Petty Officer Ted Craig, US Coast Guard. "A lot of us live in Norton Shores so we figured it would be a good way to show our support for the community."

Before the games began, a Color Guard took the field followed by the National Anthem. Officer Ginka's two daughters then threw out the first pitch.

"Officer Ginka's family is our family," said Gale. "We want to keep remembering them and make sure they know they're apart of our family."

The games were all in good fun, but ultimately the Army took home the victory over the Norton Shores Police with a final score of 10-8. Organizers are planning on making this fundraiser an annual event.

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