WAYNESBORO, GA – (True Citizen)
To commemorate an age-old tradition that spans the nation, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office is again hosting its own special celebration to pay tribute to those who put their lives on the line every day.
The second annual First Responders Day will take place this Saturday, May 18, at the old TG&Y from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We look forward to hosting the BCSO second annual First Responders Day,” said Burke Sheriff Alfonzo Williams, adding that the day is one to celebrate those in the fields of public safety, but also to encourage others to select such as their career paths. This is also a time for the public to interact with deputies and other first responders and develop more personal relationships with them, he said.
The sheriff’s office will be joined by local, state and federal agencies including the Waynesboro Police Department, Waynesboro Fire Department, Burke County Animal Services, Burke County EMA, Midville Police Department, Sardis Police Department, Burke County Recreation Department, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Department of Community Supervision, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Department of Public Safety and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition to free food, drinks and cool treats, attendees can enter to be in the running for one of five free bicycles, with drawings each hour. There will also be bouncy houses and children’s activities with the deputies. Free blood pressure checks, prescription drug drop off, child safety seat inspections and assistance and employment information and applications for many of the participating agencies will be available for adults.
“We are blessed in Burke County to have such great partnerships with our citizens, business leaders and our elected leaders,” said BCSO Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard. “This is just one of many events we hold yearly to meet and interact with our citizens, young adults and children in an effort to foster an appreciation for law enforcement and to let everyone know how much we care. We hope to see as many from the community as possible at the event.”
Chief Blanchard provides us with a background as to how National Police Week and such events came to exist.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. This year, National Police Week is May 12-18. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, D.C. to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The memorial service began in 1982 as a gathering in Senate Park of approximately 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement. Decades later, the event, more commonly known as National Police Week, has grown to a series of events which attracts thousands of survivors and law enforcement officers to our Nation’s Capital each year.
The National Peace Officers Memorial Service, which is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, is one in a series of events which includes the Candlelight Vigil, which is sponsored by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and seminars sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.)
National Police Week draws in approximately 25,000 to 40,000 attendees who come from departments throughout the United States as well as agencies throughout the world. This provides a unique opportunity to meet others who work in law enforcement. In that spirit, the Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1 sponsors receptions each afternoon and evening during Police Week. These events are open to all law enforcement personnel and are an experience unlike any other.
This story first appeared in the True Citizen.