By Aimee Hancock
For the Troy Daily News
TROY — The Rec youth center hosted its first-ever Day of Gratitude for local first responders on Sunday. The event was open to all Miami County first responders and their families.
The open house-style event offered food, drinks, games, raffle drawings with door prizes, and even a blow-up bounce house for kids. Upon arrival, guests were encouraged to write their name on a ticket and place it in a brown bag of their choice, each of which was labeled with one emergency response department name. The department with the most tickets at the end of the day received a $500 donation.
Kelly Snyder, director of The Rec, said this donation, as well as the event itself, was made possible thanks to the many local sponsors that contributed to funding the Day of Gratitude.
“We’re just really thankful for them,” Snyder said.
With the celebration being six hours long, optimal time was given to ensure that any and all first responders who wanted to were able to attend, even if they had to work a shift that day. Several Troy police officers stopped in while on duty to grab a snack and relax for a moment.
Officer Jeff Hubbard, who has been with the Troy Police Department for 25 years, visited during his lunch break.
“It’s well-appreciated,” Hubbard said of the event. “Troy is a good place to work,” he continued, noting that he has always felt the support of the community even before the Day of Gratitude.
Several members of the Troy Fire Department were also in attendance.
“I really think it’s neat,” Lyle Bolin, who’s been with TFD for 15 years, said of the Day of Gratitude. “It gives (the first responders) time with their kids in a different atmosphere.”
“We don’t do this job for thank you’s,” Bolin continued, “but it’s nice to hear that sometimes.”
It’s this very sentiment that played a part in the creation of the Day of Gratitude. Stephanie Silk, secretary for Troy Fire Department and member of The Rec board, pointed out that first responders give not only their professional lives to the job, but also sacrifice personal time in the effort to contribute to a greater good for their community.
“These (people) don’t get to celebrate holidays,” Silk said, “but here they get to relax.”
It was Silk who originally came up with the idea to create an event specifically for first responders and their families, and she said she had no problem getting others on board with the project.
Overall, Silk said the cost of the event was low, and the willingness of sponsors to contribute made the fundraising even simpler.
“There are a lot of great philanthropic people who are more than willing to give back (to the community),” she said.
Both Snyder and Silk look forward to the Day of Gratitude becoming an annual event. Silk even spoke of the potential for future events to involve the celebration and appreciation for other essential occupations in the community.
“Going forward, we would love to recognize teachers, nurses, coaches, and any service organization that gives their time,” she said. “Being in the heart of Troy, (the Rec) is a great location to serve everyone in the county.”
Sponsors for the event include Tapestry Healing Arts Center, Galbreath Realtors, Rapid Fired Pizza, RJ Ballroom, Primary EyeCare Associates, ITW Hearts Giving Hope, Wells Fargo, Buffalo Wild Wings, Unity National Bank, Baird Funeral Home, Wade and Susan Westfall, Sam Brown CPA, Upper Valley Hearing & Balance Inc., Re/Max Victory Real Estate, Award 1, Troy Noon Optical, Greenville National Bank, Steve and Marty Baker, Nolan Giere, Turnstone Financial, CoriGraphics Inc., and Troy Animal Hospital & Bird Clinic.
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