When a fellow officer or first responder is beset by tragedy, institutional support groups can do a lot more than just raise money for medical bills, they can lift spirits and instill hope.

That camaraderie was on full display Saturday at the Lebanon Fire Department Administration Building on Coles Ferry Pike during a cornhole tournament held to raise money for the Lebanon Police Department’s Cpl. Matt Dedman.

LPD public information officer Lt. P.J. Hardy said that Dedman, a 15-year veteran with the department, was suddenly struck ill in mid-May. It would prove to be far worse than anything his family could have imagined.

Dedman was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a brain stem stroke, a type that is often fatal. On the brighter side, Hardy said doctors told Dedman those who do survive have a high likelihood of making a full recovery.

Well on his way to that recovery, Dedman made an appearance at the cornhole tournament on Saturday where he walked in on his own accord. The sheer volume of people who were there to show support brought the veteran officer to tears.

Addressing the crowd he said, “You have no idea how this makes me feel to see you all out here. Thank you so much for supporting me and my family in our time of need.”

As for the tournament, it was a double elimination format with teams of all ages competing against one another. Until the final round, there was no rule for a “bust,” where one team goes over the 21 points needed to win, and subsequently loses several points. It was strictly first to 21 points.

Forty-two teams competed, with a $40 entry fee for each team. All the proceeds went to help out with Dedman’s medical bills. There were way more than just the 84 cornhole players attending, however, as friends and family showed up in droves to support the cause.

Lebanon Mayor Rick Bell said he was proud to be the mayor of a city that would do so much for a fellow resident. “The most amazing thing out of all this is seeing the support our city is ready to offer when one of its own is in trouble.”

Events to help fundraise for Dedman continue later in the year, with a Mayhem for Matt co-ed softball tournament scheduled for Sept. 4. For more information visit the Lebanon Fire Department’s Facebook page.

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