Joplin police Detective Logan Bowline said he was playing with a heavy heart in the fifth annual Guns and Hoses basketball game Saturday at Kaminsky Gym.
His uncle, Michael Gayman, should have been on that court with him, Bowline said, but the retired Joplin officer died of a heart attack April 1.
Gayman had recruited Bowline to become a Joplin police officer in 2015 after Bowline graduated high school.
Bowline moved to Joplin and lived with Gayman and his family for a while in 2015 as he entered college at Missouri Southern State University and went to work at the Joplin city jail. Bowline became a patrol officer in 2017 and eventually a detective while Gayman, who was an officer at the Joplin Regional Airport, retired in 2019.
Bowline said his uncle lived for the annual Guns and Hoses game between police officers and firefighters.
“I have looked forward the whole year to this event,” Bowline said. “Some years it would be different months, so he would message me months before and say, ‘Hey, when’s the game? I want to play. I want to get in the gym.’ This game meant so much to him. I think he enjoyed and loved playing the fire department and seeing old friends. I have played three of the four games we played before today.”
Bowline said it was hard driving to the game Saturday, but he perked up when he saw how Bright Futures had remembered his uncle.
“I emailed Larry (Warren, a member of the board of Bright Futures) and he said we want to be able to honor the other officers but also your uncle because he was a big part of our team and has always been a part of it. ,” Bowlin said. “So they set a chair aside for him, gave him a jersey. It’s kind of surreal. On the way here it stunk, I was a little upset, but once I got here and saw everything they had done, I know he’d be happy and proud on how Bright Futures has allowed us to honor him.”
Bowline was all over the court as the police department built a 29-9 lead at halftime, but the Joplin Fire Department team rallied and cut the lead to 11 at 40-29 with six seconds to go in the third quarter. With the clock down to three seconds, Bowline put up a shot from the half-court stripe and drained the three-pointer to make the lead 43-29, setting up the police for the final push in the fourth quarter to win 52-36 .
Bowline’s story was one in an emotion-packed event that saw Bright Futures kick off a new scholarship program in honor of Cpl. Ben Cooper and Officer Jake Reed, who were killed in an exchange of gunfire March 8 in the North Park Crossing shopping center.
Bright Futures Joplin Director Sarah Coyne said the more than $10,000 raised Saturday will be split evenly between funding operations at Bright Futures and a pair of scholarships for Joplin High School seniors attending the Missouri Southern Police Academy in the names of Cooper and Reed.
“It’s been different planning this event because of all the tragedy that’s gone on with the Joplin Police Department this year, so we wanted to be really sure that we were allowing them all the space they needed to either do the event or not do the event , whatever they chose,” Coyne said. “Planning this year has been all about making sure we can get all the community support not only for Bright Futures but also for our first responders who have been such great partners with us for so many years.”
Bright Futures also honored Officer Rick Hirshey, who was also shot and seriously injured in the same March 8 incident. Hirshey, still wearing a neck brace, walked slowly to center court and threw up the ceremonial jump ball before the start of the game.
Police Capt. Trevor Duncan said the event was a fun chance to relax for police officers in Joplin.
“It’s a good feeling, with everything we’ve been through, to come out here and have some fun together and let some people laugh at us at our expense,” Duncan said. “We’ll laugh at ourselves and hopefully get some good laughs at the firemen tonight.”
Retired Joplin fire Capt. Mike Adel echoed Duncan’s sentiments.
“For the PD guys, it gives them a couple of hours to get away from it all a little bit,” Adel said. “Anytime we can do that, it’s nice. Since we have a lot of parents and younger guys who are coming into parenthood in the department, it’s a chance to give back, let the public see you, make some money for Bright Futures and help someone else’s kids.”
Want to help?
Bright Futures Joplin provides help to students in need in the Joplin School District in many ways, including clothing, coats, boots and other items, as well as snack packs — backpacks full of food and snacks sent home over the weekend to children who might not have a lot of food at home.
Monetary donations can be made to Bright Futures Joplin via mail at Bright Futures Joplin, 825 S. Pearl Ave., Joplin, MO 64801; or through a link on the organization’s website, www.brightfuturesjoplin.org.