Pa. county treats first responders to appreciation picnic
The first responders invited were firefighters, police officers, ambulance personnel, paramedics, and dispatchers and others
John E. Usalis
Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.
POTTSVILLE, Pa. — There are many people in the county who respond to all kinds of emergencies to save lives and properties, be it paid or volunteer, and on Saturday afternoon, they were recognized for their service.
The first Public Safety Appreciation Day was held at the Barefield Outdoor Recreation Complex in Pottsville. The event was open to all first responders in the Pottsville area from Orwigsburg to Frackville. Many brought their families for an afternoon of fun, food, games, music and relaxation — all free.
The first responders invited were firefighters, police officers, ambulance personnel, paramedics, and dispatchers and others from the Schuylkill County Communications Center.
Emergency dispatcher Cody Herndon deals with those who respond to emergencies.
“It’s wonderful. It really is. Hats off to everybody that planned it,” Herndon said. “What they (first responders) do is amazing. It’s great to celebrate what everybody does here.”
Humane Fire trustee Joel Edling carried a platter of picnic food (hamburger, hot dog and more) to a place to sit down and was pleased with the event and the turnout.
“This is marvelous and fantastic,” Edling said.
Guy Ebert is a volunteer at Good Will Fire Company in Pottsville and he appreciated what was done.
“It’s amazing. It’s nice to see this,” Ebert said. “It’s nice to see everybody come. Not just the police, not just the fire department, not just the ambulance and EMS. Everybody.”
The volunteers who cooked and served food were very busy keeping up with the crowd. Many wore event T-shirts with the names of the sponsors who made everything possible: M&T Bank, Wheel, Kovatch Ford, Womer’s Garage Inc., DF2 Security, Roma Pizza, AAA Schuylkill County, CACL Financial, Mystic Screen Printing, Bob Weaver Chevrolet and Barefield Development Corp.
A special treat was the opportunity for young and old to ride the 1953 Seagraves fire truck from Humane Fire Company No. 1, Pottsville, or ride in the back of an Army 2 1/2-ton truck. The free rides were scheduled every half hour.
One of the major organizers of the event was Pottsville police Sgt. James Joos, who thanked all the sponsors.
“When we asked them for their support, the area merchants for the City of Pottsville and around Schuylkill County could not be more generous,” Joos said. “One of our very generous benefactors is here today, Bob Weaver of Bob Weaver Chevrolet. This day would not be possible without his financial support.”
There was a grand raffle of many prizes, including gift cards and certificates, yard trimmers, a gas grill and a 32-inch television.
“This event is the first time ever attempted that I know of,” Joos said. “I’ve been a police office for the City of Pottsville for 25 years and this time that a committee got together to recognize and show the community appreciation for all facets of public safety. If you go down the list of all the public safety entities invited, the list is huge. There have been functions with the fire or police, but the committee felt it was important that all of us are recognized, because there is not one branch or one type of public safety that is more important than the other. We all work together. And the Pottsville Area and Schuylkill County have an absolute gift and a jewel of a resource here, and that is our great professionals in all facets of public safety.”
Joos said the committee will meet in the near future and decide about repeating Saturday’s successful event.
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