On Wednesday, May 24, in honor of First Responders Appreciation Day, a ceremony was held at Triangle Park in Chagrin Falls. All Chagrin Valley first responders were recognized. The event was organized by Jo and Bob Royer of South Russell. On the evening of Tuesday, May 23, even the Terminal Tower was lit up red, white, and blue for the Chagrin Valley First Responders.
For 30 minutes before the event started, Jean Hood led the Fire and Drum Band in playing. Larry Marrow was the MC of the event. The Gurney Service Learning Club members, dressed in patriotic colors to share their spirit, said the Pledge of Allegiance to start the ceremony.
The Chagrin Falls High School Select Choir sang the “Star Spangled Banner.” Then, Joyce Lawson from the Methodist Church led an opening prayer. Mayors Bill Tomko, of Chagrin Falls, and Bill Koons, of South Russell, read the proclamation declaring it First Responders Appreciation Day. Then the history of the day was shared. This was the 9th annual First Responders ceremony.
The CFHS Select Choir closed the ceremony singing “God Bless America.” The Gurney Service Learning Club students handed out thank you cards to our first responders in attendance.
The celebration continued at Yours Truly with the Boots on the Bar. Money raised went to the Chagrin Falls Fire Department.
Mr. Bob Royer, event organizer, said, “We hope that other communities will pick this up and catch the vision.”
Mrs. Jo Royer, event organizer, said, “Our goal has always been to improve communication with the first responders and the community, especially the kids and their families.”
Parker Lower, third-grade Gurney Service Learning Club student, said, “I love being a part of the Gurney Service Learning Club because it allows me to really make a difference in my community. It’s great to see the smile on people’s faces.”
Savannah Phillips, third-grade Gurney Service Learning Club student, said, “My favorite part was being able to give out cards to the first responders.” Savannah’s father, Bill Phillips, served for more than 20 years in the Chagrin Falls Fire Department.
Mrs. Courtney Mooney, Gurney Elementary teacher and Gurney Service Learning Club co-advisor, said, “Savannah’s father, Bill Phillips, served for over 20 years in the Chagrin Falls Fire Department. Her grandfather, Jack Phillips, was the first full time Chagrin fire chief. As you can see, service runs in the family! It was a touching moment to see Gurney student, Savannah Phillips, honor First Responders, who served like her family members did. It’s connections like those that make these service opportunities so meaningful.” She continued, “One of the kids saw our school resource officer being recognized and turned to me and said with excitement, ‘I know him from school!’ It was so awesome to see the children and officers make a connection. We truly appreciate all that our first responders do on a daily basis to keep us safe.”