For the inaugural Burgers and Badges, it was, in a way, appropriate to see Pittsburg Fire Chief Scott Crain working the charcoal grill.

For the inaugural Burgers and Badges, it was, in a way, appropriate to see Pittsburg Fire Chief Scott Crain working the charcoal grill.

While Crain was assigned the task of grillmaster, both the Pittsburg Fire Department and the Pittsburg Police Department were taking up their own task — a fundraiser for the United Way called Burgers and Badges.

“This is the first time we have done this,” said Police Chief Mendy Hulvey. “I believe it started in Webb City. They had such success there, that we brought it to Kansas, and it has gone well so far.”

The planned goal of the event was to draw roughly 100 people to Pritchett Pavilion to pay $5 for burgers and other items, with all proceeds to be donated to the United Way as part of its annual campaign.

Hulvey and others said the turnout was likely to meet and surpass that goal.

That was good news for the United Way, which is in its first year as a truly united United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas.

“This is the first time for Burgers and Badges, but it’s also the first time the organizations have been joined together. We’re looking for a way we can provide things to the community with the money raised from this event,” said Judy Westhoff, Pittsburg downtown development director and United Way campaign co-chairperson.

But while United Way got the proceeds, it’s not as though those with badges didn’t get anything out of the event, either.

“I think it’s great that the police department and the fire department volunteered the time to put on this event,” Westhoff said. “It is something they like to do to be involved in the community. They also are aware of the value of the United Way money that is going to people in southeast Kansas.”

Friday’s event, although it was the first such Burgers and Badges in Pittsburg, will not be the last, if Hulvey and Crain have their way.

“It’s gone so well, it’s been something we look forward to doing again next year,” Hulvey said. “We’ve had great weather, it’s a great day, and we look forward to doing it all again next year.”

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 140.