By Joey McWilliams
BRYAN COUNTY – Local everyday heroes were recognized at Carl Albert Park on Thursday with an evening with food and fun and a time to just relax.
WoodmenLife again hosted Hotdogs for Heroes and more than 200 people stopped by the parking lot of the city swimming pool, where there were hotdogs, as well as service vehicles on display to tour, including an Air Evac helicopter. As well as looking inside the vehicles, kids who came out played in bounce houses with water sprays inside.
Hudson Toews, one of the WoodmenLife field representatives on hand, said it’s just an appreciation for local heroes, like the police, firefighters, EMS, anyone involved in that line of work.
“It’s a first responders event and it encompasses a lot of people,” Toews said. “You’re talking about dispatch, emergency management crews, volunteer departments, anyone that has something to do with the first response to the scene of accident, some kind of situations, disasters.
“There’s also the Fraternal Order of Police that has a strike team. What they do is when a storm comes through, they’ll help elderly individuals clear their yards of fallen branches, trees and stuff like that. And they’re just as qualified to be a first responder as our local police officers.”
Toews said fire departments from Bennington, Yuba, Philadelphia, Durant and Silo were in attendance, as well as the Bryan County EMS, Eagle Med Air Evac, and the Sheriff’s Department.
Max Vail, fire chief in Achille, said it was his first time to attend the event and that about half of the Achille fire department was there, too.
“It’s nice the Woodmen are able to serve the community like this,” Vail said. “I know they’ve put flagpoles up in Achille at the school and I think the fire department, too. They do a lot of good stuff for the towns around here.”
Toews said WoodmenLife just wanted everyone to come out and be able to see some of the assets that these different departments and organizations use to complete their tasks.
“The Air Evac was really cool and people got to tour the inside of the helicopter and check it out, so you see the different apparatuses they have and they’re able to use for quick emergency flights to hospitals or whatever. And then you have your firetrucks, your police vehicles and more. If you haven’t ever been involved in work at a fire department, a lot of people don’t get to see what all goes into these trucks.
“You know, you want to see the inside of a police vehicle in this kind of situation only.”
Toews also recognized the fact that many of the first responders that work in the county are volunteers, who take time away from their jobs to be or service.
For more information about the fraternal side and the business side of WoodmenLife in Durant, visit their site HERE.