Toronto FC celebrated the work of Toronto Police Service officers at First Responder appreciation night at BMO Field May 26.
Thrilled to be invited and showcased in front of legions of devout Toronto FC fans, Public Safety Response Team (PSRT) Inspector Frank Barredo and Staff Sergeant Ron Khan presented 21 members of the newly formed unit and kicked off the pre-game ceremonies.
“This has been a tremendous opportunity to not only promote our new unit but to broadly showcase how much the Toronto Police Service cares about its community relationships. All throughout the game, PSRT officers mingled positively with fans and organizers, celebrating not only a shared passion for one of our city’s great sports teams, but a shared commitment to partnership and mutual respect,” Barredo said. “I lost count of the number of fans who approached our officers to tell them how much they appreciate the Toronto Police Service for keeping them safe.”
Barredo helped with the presentation of a community recognition award to star Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco and then gave a pre-game interview about the new PSRT and its mandate broadcast to fans at the game.
Constable Nathalie Urbas, an accomplished soccer player herself, had the distinct pleasure of walking out the official game ball and placing it on the ceremonial pedestal. As is her habit within her own amateur league, Urbas planted a firm good-luck kiss on the ball before placing it on the stand awaiting the referee to start the game.
During the singing of our national anthem, 21 members of the PSRT carried onto the field a giant Canadian flag that they proudly held outstretched as thousands of fans rose to their feet.
And what an affect Urbas’ kiss had on the game’s final result, with TFC going on to shut out the Columbus Crew SC by an impressive 5-0 margin.