JOSHUA TREE, Calif. — Peace officers and military personnel from around Southern California gathered at the Desert Refuge for Peace Officers and Military Personnel in Joshua Tree, Calif., April 14, 2018, to vie for bragging rights in the organization’s inaugural Tug-of-War competition.
Marines from the Combat Center took on officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, as well as deputies from San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. More than 40 Marines and law enforcement personnel tested themselves and each other in a series of competitions ranging from push-ups to a 40-meter sprint and kettle bell relays before the tug-of-war. The Marines took home the trophy, beating San Bernardino County deputies in the tug-of-war finale.
The Desert Refuge, built on 10 acres by the vision of Father Mike McCullough, chaplain, Los Angeles Police Department, has been a place for service members and law enforcement to get away from the “daily drop of corrosion” associated with their jobs. McCullough has been working on improving the Desert Refuge since its creation in 1999.
In addition to the friendly competition, the event featured a barbecue lunch, live music by the Bucket List Band, giveaways and inter-faith prayer.
“We started progress on the Desert Refuge with Father Mike almost 20 years ago,” said Dan Watson, a member of the nonprofit organization’s board of directors. “One of our challenges right now is our housing. When guests come out to the refuge, they usually end up staying with friends out in town or in hotels or motels in Joshua Tree. With fundraising events like these, we can get the resources to build our own on-site housing, which will help grow the Desert Refuge.”
According to McCullough, the event was a success and he is looking forward to next year, when the teams return to defend the championship or attempt to dethrone their opponents.