Cuyahoga Falls will celebrate its first-ever First Responders Appreciation Day, an all-day celebration of the service men and women who are the first to respond to emergencies and disasters, on Sept. 29 from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by Summa Western Reserve Hospital, the city of Cuyahoga Falls and the Cuyahoga Falls Fire and Police departments.
"On our first Cuyahoga Falls First Responders Appreciation Day, we celebrate the brave EMS personnel, fire fighters, police officers and other service men and women who come to the rescue when the community needs them the most. This provides us an opportunity to show our appreciation for the vital work they do," said Mayor Don Robart.
Open to the public, the all-day family friendly event will take place at Falls River Square. The schedule includes an address from Mayor Robart and an interfaith prayer to commence the festivities, followed by a variety of family-friendly activities that include face painting, service trucks on display, rock wall climbing, police K-9 demonstrations, Kid ID cards made, Woodridge High School marching band, Paws and Prayers with adoptable animals, Summit County mounted patrol, raffles and much more. All attending first responders will be entered into a drawing to win great prizes. The event will culminate with a performance by the band "Buck Naked" whose members consist largely of Akron Police Department employees.
Cuyahoga Falls resident Angie Joeris approached Robart with the idea, said Kathy Romito, community outreach coordinator for Summa Western Reserve Hospital. "The mayor thought it was a good idea to honor our first responders," Romito said. "We are actually keeping that definition fairly broad. We're not just applying it to police, fire, sheriff and hospital personnel, but we're also including Red Cross volunteers, teachers and anybody who would be the first to arrive on a scene of an emergency and possibly save lives or protect people."
Romito said she and the hospital got involved in planning the event when Fred Jackson, assistant chief of the Falls Fire Department, contacted her.
Joeris, Romito, Jackson, Falls Police Lt. Perry Tabak and Jennifer Syx, deputy director of community development, formed the planning committee that met throughout the summer. She said that many local businesses have offered to be involved and help sponsor the event because they "know how important first responders are," Romito said.
Participating organizations are:
• Akron Children's Hospital Critical Transport Team;
• American Red Cross;
• City of Cuyahoga Falls;
• Cuyahoga Falls Fire Department;
• Cuyahoga Falls Police Department;
• Eat and Park;
• METRO SWAT Armored Vehicle;
• Metropolis Popcorn;
• Ohio Department of Homeland Security;
• Ohio National Guard Homeland Response Force CBRNE Enhanced Response Force;
• Ohio State Highway Patrol Special Response Team Tactical Vehicle;
• Paws and Prayers;
• Police Canine Units- Cuyahoga Falls, Tallmadge OSP and Akron;
• Summa Western Reserve Hospital;
• Summit County Citizen Corp;
• Summit County Emergency Management Agency;
• Summit County Haz-Mat Team;
• Summit County Sheriff's Mounted Patrol Unit and Bomb Squad;
• Tae Kwon Do for Life;
• Target Stores;
• Valley Animal Hospital;
• Woodridge High School Marching Band; and
• Young's Screen Printing
Leading up to the event, kindergarten through fifth grade students will have a chance to participate in a poster contest. Now through Sept. 25, students can submit posters to their teachers showing first responders in action or what first responders mean to the community. Based on the poster's creativity, four winners -- two boys and two girls -- will be selected to receive new bicycles as prizes.
For more information, contact Kathy Romito at 330-971-7408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.