YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Every year since 1978, law enforcement, firefighters, military personnel and their families come to win awards in the Ohio Police and Fire Games.
This year, there are more than 35 events, including pistol shooting, and the event is taking place at venues all over Mahoning County.
“It makes you a better person. Obviously, physical fitness has been proven to make employees better, make employees more alert, make employees less likely to commit the ugly word of suicide, which is a very high percentage in law enforcement,” organizer Carl Frost said.
This is the fourth time the event has been held in the Mahoning Valley. The last time was in 2003 and the first time was in 1993.
“It is great. It is good for our economy, it is good for our first responders and our military that live and work in this area,” Frost said.
Organizers of the event said they have reached 470 registrations as of Monday, and not every one is from Ohio. When participants come for the games, they eat, shop, and of course they need a place to stay.
“There is always a ripple effect. You see people in the restaurants and things like that. I have lived here all my life and anytime we bring an event here, there is always a sense of pride,” Holiday Inn manager Mike Moliterno said.
“You figure we are bringing in 400 to 500 people, several of them will be staying overnight. Not all of them, but a lot of them will, and even the ones that don’t will be going to dinner and patronizing our restaurants,” Frost said.
A representative of the Mahoning County Convention and Visitors Bureau said Tourism Ohio uses a formula to estimate the number of dollars brought into the area. For every person traveling to the Valley on a day trip, it is estimated they will spend $100 after adding up gas, food and shopping.
For every person staying overnight, it is estimated they will spend $300 after adding on a hotel room, and a quick run to the store in case they left something at home. Based on this formula, the event this week could bring in up to $846,000.
Moliterno said the hospitality industry benefits when these events are in town.
“It is a nice base of business for our hotel and everything is pretty spread out so a lot of the hotels in the area are benefiting from it,” Moliterno said.