Meet Lottas First Responders
Devils Lake- Lake region has a proud history of community spirit and a love of sports, and a group of locals are taking that love to the next level.
Meet the Lottas First Responders, a locally formed team of softball players with one common unique common bond – they are all first responders.
The team has 23 players from the Lake Region area that are on roster made up of Devils Lake PD, sheriff deputies from Ramsey, Benson, & Nelson Counties, fire fFighters from Lakota, Maddock and Devils Lake, members of the Army National Guard, a representative from Spirit Lake EMS, a representative from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, a correctional officer, and a lab manager at Altru Devils Lake National Guard. In total they have 31 people who participate on the team as pickups and alternatives.
Nathan Parks, who serves as the manager of the team, also serves as a volunteer fire fighter for Lakota.
“It’s a good group of guys that is kind of united under the "First Responder" flag which makes up our jersey and hat designs,” Parks said.
Parks said their logo is the official "First Responder" flag which has colors representing each of their fields. He said on the players jersey’s, each player’s number are also colored to match the branch of service they are in.
“I have red to represent being in the fire department,” he said. “Police officer’s numbers are in blue, we have a military player who has his number in cameo colors.”
2020 was the first year for the team as an official team. Originally there was a softball team in Devils Lake for the police department that was run by Cory Gilbertson. Parks said that after having other commitments Gilbertson turned over management of the team to Parks.
Parks works with Officer Christian Dallas on managing the team.
Parks said that when he took over the management of the team he felt a need to branch out the team to make it more diverse.
“Just our connections I guess,” Parks said. “We had some corrections officers [and others] that were interested in playing and it was just a natural thing to recruit get other players.”
During their first year the team placed 4th overall in league tournaments, a spot which they are currently holding this season. Parks said this wasn’t very surprising as every week he basically has a new team due to the player’s work schedules.
“We want to win, of course,” he said. “But it is more about camaraderie. We sort of want to let everyone who shows up get a chance to play.”
Parks said the atmosphere on the league is one of friendship. The league will constantly get together for barbeques and other events at player’s homes.
“I have been playing for 10 years and this is my favorite team yet.” He said.
The league plays on Monday nights in the Devils Lake League tournaments. The team has begun gaining sponsorship from local businesses, such as Lottas Bar, Lake Region Fitness and Leading Edge Equipment and Ray’s Painting.
“Our plan is to expand it into a community thing to raise money for the community and other things,” he said.
Parks said the league is open to suggestions on fundraising ideas. For more information about the league or to talk about fundraising ideas, the community can contact Parks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.
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