Original Published on Sep 22, 2022 at 09:36
By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
First responders were celebrated in Grande Prairie on Saturday, with 101 Avenue blocked off to showcase their equipment and people in demonstrations for the public.
The Grande Prairie Royal Canadian Legion Branch #54 hosted the event, which led with a parade, and then speeches from local leaders.
“Today we celebrate (and) we thank our first responders,” said Chris Warkentin, Grande Prairie-Mackenzie MP.
“For all of us, it is a remarkable assurance for us to know that in our time of crisis and in our time of need, there will be people that will step up to the plate.”
Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton expressed her appreciation of first responders in the area.
“We want to thank the many individuals in these roles for their selfless dedication to our community to keep our life safety day to day, but also for the work they do in our community on their time off,” she said.
“These are the people that are volunteering in our community, they’re coaching in our community, they are putting their hand up to make our community and our social fibre better.”
She encouraged the public to thank first responders for their hard work in the community.
Demonstrations from first responders included police dogs in pursuit of a perp, a mock accident scene which included firefighters rescuing a dummy from a crashed car using life-saving tools and the dummy being loaded into an ambulance.
Ambulances, police cars and firetrucks were available for people to view, and the first responders who use the tools daily were available to chat about their jobs.
“I’m hoping that the people in Grande Prairie will actually recognize and appreciate what services are around protecting them,” said Brad Lewis, Grande Prairie Legion president.
He said it was important to the Legion to host the event as veterans and first responders are “brothers and sisters in arms.”
“I think it’s a natural work environment to support them as they support us.”
Dustin Greene, 7, was dressed in his fireman’s uniform and was excited to see all the demonstrations at the event, his favourite being the firefighter rescue.
Lewis hopes the event will return next year and have even more to offer the community.