With eight years of experience serving as a firefighter and emergency medical technician, Chris Ledford of Fort Worth, Texas, dedicates his life to helping others. In addition to placing himself in harm’s way as part of his profession, Chris Ledford also gives back by participating in a variety of charitable activities, including an annual event called the Big Russian, where public servants play basketball to raise money for charity.
The Big Russian, also known as the Norm Smith Memorial Basketball Tournament, launched in 2009 as a way to honor Norm Smith, a fallen Dallas, Texas, officer shot while on duty. The 3-on-3 basketball tournament takes place annually each spring and involves law enforcement and fire department members, including police officers, federal agents, sheriffs, and firefighters.
All proceeds from the event go toward supporting charitable efforts throughout the local community. In previous years benefiting organizations have included The Birthday Party Project, which provides children who are without homes the joy of having their own birthday parties; Genesis Women’s Center, which aids women who have experienced domestic violence; and the Children’s Medical Center, which provides care for the area’s youth. Many other local agencies have received financial support as well.