By KIM ESTES, Four Points News
Steiner Ranch families mingled with local heroes at the First Responders Appreciation event on Sept. 23 at John Simpson Park. About 50 people attended including 20 first responders, reported Sherri Smetana, organizer.
“I wanted to show my appreciation to first responders and I thought the community would support the idea and it did,” Smetana said.
“You know, victims don’t always remember who helped them because they are in a tragic situation like an accident or a fire. A medic told me first responders feel like ‘ghosts’ sometimes because people know they’re there, but don’t really notice or remember the one who helped them,” she said.
The original idea for the event started with Smetana’s former college friend who was concerned with current violent acts against police. “She wanted to do something similar to ‘See You at the Pole’ but instead go to police stations. I thought I could organize something similar here,” Smetana said.
She adjusted the plan to include a public meeting place and all first responders because September is the anniversary month of the Steiner Ranch fires. “September always makes me think about the firefighters,” Smetana said.
Like her friend, Smetana found many others willing to help including co-organizer, Margie Aston, Card My Yard, Randalls and the Steiner Ranch HOA, which gave planners the location free of charge.
Activities were kept to a minimum and focused on first responders. “Instead of a Bouncy House and things like that, I set up a table for kids and adults to write a quick thank you note to hand to officers and firefighters. It was a good icebreaker. Sometimes it’s hard to start that conversation – thanking them for their service.”
Before the event ended, Smetana made a few public remarks and prayed for the first responders. “You know, it was something my heart was wanting to do and the community responded. I hope it will continue to support all our police and firefighters,” she said.