Leon County Schools celebrate First Responders Appreciation Day

Courtesy of Wise Realty Company

Leon County Schools honored first responders Friday, for their commitment and dedication in protecting the community.

Astoria Park Elementary School had a brunch for the first responders, which included fruit and danishes, while the school children ate their lunch.

Principal of Astoria Parks Elementary School, Dr. Marsha Sanders, expressed the importance of First Responders Appreciation Day because it gives the opportunity to thank them for all of their dedication and hard work that they do everyday.

“It allows for the students to see them on a positive note. They're here to help and have lunch with the kids,” Sanders said.

The second annual First Responders Appreciation Day welcomed individuals to Leon County School campuses for a free lunch and fellowship. The School Board passed an official proclamation in honor of the day's events.

Communications manager for Leon County Schools Chris Petley stated that First Responders Appreciation is a week designated by the governor of Florida, through a proclamation, in the first week of January this year and last year.

“Feeling like the first week of January didn’t give them enough time to prepare and plan all of the fun activities that wanted to do, Leon County Schools decided to have it in February,” Petley said.  

Peltey explained how important the day was for the students to have someone to look up to and develop a relationship with the first responders.

“It is important to develop the whole child and not just someone who knows how to take test,” Petley said.

Petley added First Responders Appreciation Day is important for the faculty and staff to thank them for what they do everyday, especially after the incident this week at Leon High School with the fire.

Jackie Pons, Leon County Schools superintendent, said this day means a lot to her.

“It means a lot to me, especially with the fire at Leon High School and how quickly the fire department responded helping to secure the building and make sure that everyone was evacuated,” Pons said. “I hope the community sees the relationship that the school system has with the first responders and for the community to realize that we need to do everything in our power to help them do their jobs and support and appreciate them for what they do.”

Jerome Turner Jr., Chief of Police, director of public safety and 2010 Florida A&M University alumnus, asserted that anytime there’s an event in the community it puts a shining light on first responders.

“This event breaks the barrier that a lot of children have of public safety professionals which allows them to build a trust which is essential to build the community,” Turner said.

Jerome Gaines, Chief of the Tallahassee Fire Department, said it’s nice to be appreciated.

“It’s a good feeling to be appreciated because I want kids to know that we are there to help and they can always count on us to do that,” Gaines said.