Responders Honored, Celebrated During Appreciation Day

Jonathan Rowe | Washington Daily News

First Responders’ Appreciation Day was in full swing Saturday at Warren Airport as residents came out to honor military, law enforcement, and emergency personnel and get a glimpse of the equipment and vehicles used in emergency situations.

Al Powell, head of the Police Activities League and organizer of the event, said the event was “geared to display the awesome talent, equipment and training that the first responders have, including law enforcement, military, 911/emergency services, Salvation Army, National Guard, and teachers, in some cases.” The event not only displayed first responder personnel but also showcased educational tools in aviation and technology like Elizabeth City State University Aviation and Science Technology Department, ECU Engineering and Technology Department and Beaufort County Community College.

“This is an opportunity for the public to meet our first responders in a very positive, friendly environment and say thank you,” Powell said. “This is a multifaceted program, honoring first responders and showcasing educational opportunities. Kids need to know where their futures and opportunities are.”

Powell also commented on the presence of the U.S. Marine Corps V-22 Osprey.

“We were honored by having the first waiver of its type issued — for a military asset, aviation asset to support a civilian function — in the United States when the U.S. Marine Corp was authorized by the Pentagon to bring the Osprey here,” Powell said.

Residents had the opportunity to view the aircraft as well as military, law enforcement and emergency vehicles. The Salvation Army, representatives from the FBI, ECU Department of Engineering and Technology and the Beaufort County Health Department were some of the organizations present at the event, providing information and resources to the public.

The event was dedicated to fallen officer Alex Thalmann and his mother, Stacey Thalmann, was given a certificate by Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacey Drakeford in honor of him.

“When you leave the house, you’ve got people watching your back,” Thalmann said in regards to the role of first responders in the community.

The Beaufort County Police Activities League is now the Inner Banks STEM Center.