Substance abuse

Battle of the Badges: Burger showdown raises funds for substance abuse recovery

Two grill masters put their skills to the test, serving up good bites, while also serving their community.

The third annual Battle of the Badges took place Tuesday evening at the Howard Park Public House.

Burgers were crafted by the St. Joseph County Sheriff and South Bend’s Assistant EMS chief. Both were working the grill for a good cause.

Money raised from the showdown will go to help individuals and families impacted by substance abuse.

While the bites were free, to vote on a winner, tasters donated $5 apiece to Recover Michiana Fest.

The annual event offers support and resources for those battling or caring for those battling substance abuse.

It’s awesome, not only to come out and support us and the South Bend Fire Department, but the people in the community that are struggling with addiction. And Recover Michiana helps with that, to try to get people to know there are people here to help them and that there is a way out of that addiction,” said Sheriff William Redman (D), Sheriff of St. Joseph County.

Sheriff Redman has won the last two years in a row.

He says his secret to success is making a unique burger for every battle. His previous winners were his breakfast and quesadilla burgers.

This year, he looked to Italy for inspiration.

“We have a burger made by the public house, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese on a garlic bread bun,” said Redman.

Assistant EMS Chief of the South Bend Fire Department Andy Myer was looking for redemption after coming up short in his first attempt last year.

He went with a more traditional, but still tasty, bar-style burger.

“We’re using smashed burgers, two smashed burgers with some sharp cheddar cheese in between a brioche bun with some shredded lettuce and fresh pickle,” said Myer.

But at the end of the day, regardless of the votes, everyone says the real champions are those who came out to support their neighbors in need.

I think they’re both winners, because they want to be a part of the conversation which means so much to us. It’s so important to have collaboration and from our fire department and sheriffs department, it shows people that they matter and that this isn’t a one sided issue , it’s a together issue,” said Alicia Wells, Executive Director of Recover Michiana Fest.

The votes are in, and this year’s winner is Sheriff Redman with his Italian Primo burger, making him the three-time champion. The total raised at the event was $5,018.

While the event is over, donations are still being accepted for September’s Recover Michiana Fest.

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