Law enforcement charity hockey game to benefit 9-1-1 dispatcher

Michelle Bouwens, with her family, is battling cancer and is the focus of a benefit hockey game May 20. (Supplied)

By K.D. Norris


A 9-1-1 dispatcher — a person who is “always there for you, waiting for your call” — is now in need of support from the community. And the annual Kent Area Law Enforcement’s Old Time Hockey Game offers the public the ability to support while watching some fun hockey action.


The Old Time Hockey Game will take place Saturday, May 20, at Byron Center’s Southside Ice Arena, 566 100th St., with the game beginning at 1 p.m. and an open skate to follow.


Proceeds from the event will benefit Michelle Bouwens, an 18-year veteran 9-1-1 dispatcher who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, according to her boss, is currently in the fight of her life.


“They are always there for you, waiting for your call.  Now, one of them needs your help,” Matt Groesser, Emergency Communications Center manager for the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, said in an emailed statement. “The men and women of the Kent County Communications Center answer over 140,000 9-1-1 calls per year (that’s one call every 4 minutes on average).  They are responsible for emergency communications in a community of over 435,000 people.  … Come join us, and hundreds of others from the area, at the 21st annual Kent Area Law Enforcement Charity Hockey Game.”


The charity hockey game is the longest-running law enforcement hockey game in the state. The event is open to the public, with donations accepted.


Bouwens is married and has two sons, ages 9 and 10. She is taking unpaid time off to undergo treatment and surgeries, according to supplied information.


For more information visit the event’s Facebook link.