County 4-H honors first responders
First responders are an important part of the community, but one that can be taken for granted; Churchill County 4-H decided to change that Friday, hosting a banquet to recognize and thank the men and women in those dangerous positions.
Members of nine emergency departments, their families and the families of those in the 4-H program filled the Fallon Convention Center. Fallon police, the sheriff, Care Flight, fire and rescue, Naval Air Station Fallon and Banner Churchill Community Hospital EMTs were among the departments represented.
As everyone settled down from the meal, commissioner Pete Olsen gave the county’s thanks to everyone for their service. He also recognized the responders’ families and said they were the unsung heroes for their constant love and support to the people in uniform.
“Our community is so blessed to have all of you here,” he said. “We are so fortunate.”
The 4-H leaders and Olsen then presented plaques to each department, thanking the men and women of the department for their service and sacrifice for the community.
First responders were presented with a ribbon to set them apart. The 4-H members always served people with the ribbons first and made sure to thank them for their service when they talked to them.
The event also held an educational element for the children as part of their community service project.
“Part of 4-H is community service,” said Karen Bogdanowicz. “In discussing that (a community service project) with them, they felt that it would be a great opportunity to recognize those that serve us in our community.”
She said their hope was for the children to meet with the guests, get to know them and learn about their jobs.
Natalie Hansen, a paramedic, said the event was great because it was recognizing 4-H as well as giving recognition to first responders. She noted everything 4-H does for livestock and agriculture in the area.
“It’s just awareness for everyone and, I think, all over appreciation,” she said. “It’s nice to be recognized by kids who have the same kind of work ethic … It’s great that they put this dinner together and it’s very thoughtful.”
Chris Rogne of the Fallon Churchill Volunteer Fire Department said his group enjoyed their evening and what the 4-H program did for the first responders.
“We do a lot of stuff where we help people put on events,” he said. “It was kind of nice having something where they put it all on for us.”
Pam Powell, 4-H extension educator, noted the community service work of first responders sometimes goes unnoticed; her hope was that the event would help shine a light on their efforts and give the children a better idea of what first responders do behind the scenes.
“It would be a really wonderful opportunity for the 4-Hers to learn that they’re more than an individual in a uniform; they’re a member of the community and they do care a lot about what takes place here,” she said.
The 4-H children were key in planning and preparing the dinner. While adults helped, the kids prepared most of the meal.
“They’ve been dedicated and working hard in the kitchen today,” Bogdanowicz said.
According to Bogdanowicz, they started planning the event about six months ago and the children were involved in most steps of the process.