People in Grande Prairie have gotten a closer look at how local first responders operate. The Royal Canadian Legion #54 hosted First Responders Appreciation Day Saturday for the first time in a few years.
Taking part were the Grande Prairie Fire Department, Grande Prairie RCMP, Grande Prairie Enforcement Services, Alberta Sheriffs, EMS, Grande Prairie Army Cadets, and veterans, among many other volunteers. Legion President Brad Lewis says it was important for him and others in the organization to recognize all that they do and have done for our community.
“The first responders, for me, are the ones that are first reactive to anything that happens, whereas when I served we were first responding to things that happened as well, so they are our brothers and sisters in arms. I support veterans, but I also support these guys, and you know what? There are a lot of veterans that are involved with these guys too.”
Lewis served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1981 to 2003.
The day included a parade, a free barbecue, kids’ activities, and a chance to meet with first responders organisations in the street in front of the Legion, as well as inside. It also included a Police Dog Services demonstration, an RCMP obstacle course, and a mock emergency scenario that involved a vehicle extrication. Lewis says he hopes those who took in the day despite the heavy rainfall left with a greater understanding of what first responders do.
“I’m hoping that the people of Grande Prairie will actually recognize and appreciate what services are around protecting them, being available for them and that they are a part of our community; they are our neighbours, sons, daughters, fathers.”
It’s planned to make the day an annual event again.