On Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Holiday Inn in Independence, Ohio, American Legion Post 572 from Parma, Ohio, along with posts and Legion members throughout District 13, found a unique way of saying “Thank you for your service” to our first responders by hosting the “2nd Annual First Responders Appreciation Night. Dubbed by the media as “Heroes Honoring Heroes,”
nearly 250 first responders and guests along with American Legion members enjoyed an evening of dining, dancing and entertainment, all paid for by American Legion members and a few local businesses.
“When recognized as veterans, people frequently approach us with a 'thank you for your service,' but rarely are our Police, Sheriffs, Fire, EMTs thanked for their services,” said Tony Kessler, commander of Post 572. “This is our way of showing appreciation to them, especially in this time of so much disrespect toward law enforcement.”
It was a gala event with a sit-down dinner, 6-piece dance band and an opening ceremony which included placing of the flag by the Post 572 color guard, Cleveland Police ceremonial color guard, Parma fire department color guard and the Cleveland FirePipers. A moment of silence, opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance was offered by Art Wesley Post 572 and the District 13 chaplain. Band lead singer Angelina sang the national anthem and then had everyone join her in 'God Bless America.'
American Legion Department of Ohio Commander Stanley Pleasant was a special guest speaker and said he had never seen such a opening ceremony as this. Keynote speaker was State of Ohio 16th District congressman and candidate for governor Jim Renacci. Officer “Max,” the Parma police department's newest K9 member, was present greeting guests while his partner Officer Jason Campana answered questions about the importance of the growing K9 unit in the Parma police department. Plans are already being made for the 3rd Annual First Responders Appreciation Night.