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CHaD Battle of the Badges: Giving back is what it's all about

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 11. 2018 2:00PM
Jasper Vincent, 7, a CHaD buddy, greets the Team Fire players during player introductions before the annual CHaD Battle of the Badges Baseball game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester on Friday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — When Chris Heney learned of the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Battle of the Badges baseball game five years ago, he knew he wanted to be part of it.

Heney wished to give back to the hospital that helped him recover from a serious snowmobile accident when he was in high school.

Friday night’s eighth edition of the annual exhibition at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium marked the Meredith police officer’s fifth year participating in the event and his second as a Team Police captain.

Thanks in part to a generous donation made by the restaurant his wife works for, Faro Italian Grille in Laconia, Heney entered Friday’s game as the highest fundraiser among this year’s players with $32,500.

Team Police won, 10-2, Friday night to take a 5-3 all-time series lead. Heney hit an RBI single to deep left field and scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth inning to give Team Police a 5-1 advantage.

Funds raised by the players and proceeds from the exhibition benefit CHaD programs and services.

“People just really like to help out children,” Heney said before the game. “This year coming up to it, I was excited to raise any amount of money and to raise the amount I did was just awesome.”

Heney spent time as a CHaD patient during the winter of 2007 following a snowmobile accident. Heney, then a junior at Laconia High School, was snowmobiling on a trail in Belmont one night when he hit a rock that was not snow-covered. The collision sent him into the air, then the snowmobile crashed into a tree before coming back and hitting him.

“In a blink of an eye, I could’ve easily been not here today or handicapped or paralyzed,” Heney said.

Heney, now 27, was flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. All the injuries he suffered from the accident were internal. Heney said he had about 13 surgeries. The final one took 12 hours. During his recovery at CHaD, Heney said the staff made sure he didn’t have to worry about anything and kept him updated.

“I didn’t feel like I was in a hospital,” Heney said. “It made you feel like you were at home.”

For awhile, there was a possibility Heney might lose his kidney, which would have ended his football and baseball career at Laconia High. The CHaD doctors saved most of Heney’s kidney and he did not miss a game in either sport due to the injuries from his accident.

Heney, who played shortstop for Team Police Friday and while at Laconia, continued his baseball career at NHTI after graduating from high school.

Heney, who previously served with the New Hampton police force, said the accident made him not take things for granted and try to be an optimistic, happy person.

“(It was) definitely a humbling experience,” Heney said. “Being in high school at that age, you think you’re invincible.”

While preparing for this year’s game, Heney has gotten to know his CHaD buddy, Gunner. Meeting the CHaD buddies and hearing their stories is one of Heney’s favorite parts of being involved with the exhibition, he said.

“After that, raising money for them is the ultimate goal,” Heney said. “And come game day, we get to play the game we all grew up playing and loving and seeing who comes out on top.”

Team Police Captain Chris Heney, from Meredith, runs with CHaD buddy Carson Chagnon during the annual CHaD Battle of the Badges baseball game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester on Friday. Heney, 27, was a patient at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in 2007 after suffering serious injuries in a snowmobile accident. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

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