Saying ‘thank you’ to first responders


First Responders Appreciation Day will be observed in Urbana on May 24 at the Grimes Field Airport, according to an announcement from the local committee organizing the event.

The celebration will recognize the men and women who protect and care for area residents in times of emergency. “Champaign County firefighters, police and emergency medical service providers are always there in our time of need and it is fitting to recognize their important contribution to the community,” the announcement states.

The event sponsor is Walter and Lewis Funeral Home. The committee chaired by Jeff Frantz is composed of Elton Cultice, Jenny White, Frank Lewis, Susie Koennecke, Sandy Gonzalez, Jan Murphy, Matt Vanscoy and Beth Deere. Members of this group have worked several months on the project and event details and activities are being finalized.

A “Field of Honor” will be the focal point of the day as hundreds of U.S. flags will fly in tribute to the first responders. The goal is made possible through donations, sponsorships and the efforts of many dedicated volunteers. Donations are being accepted from community members who wish to “participate and show support and gratitude.”

The cost to sponsor a flag is $30 and each sponsor will receive a standard-size U.S. flag kit at the end of the event. Each flag flown will have a yellow ribbon attached where messages or the words “In Honor Of ” and “In Memory Of ” can be added and customized. Donations in any amount are appreciated and may be made online at or mailed to Frank Lewis, c/o Walter & Lewis, 642 S. Main St., Urbana, Ohio 43078. All checks should be made to: Colonial Flag Foundation with Urbana, OH Field of Honor in the memo line. Those interested can contact Jeff Frantz at 937-974-9135 with any questions.

Funds generated from the event will be used to purchase protective carbon hoods for the Urbana Fire Division. Each year, a different department or division of first responders will receive the event’s proceeds.

The goal is to assemble hundreds of U.S. flags waving on 8-foot poles in perfect rows and columns on a field of green honoring first responders. “What a glorious sight and fitting tribute to our firefighters, police and emergency medical service providers,” the event organizers state in their announcement. “They have earned our gratitude by their selfless service and sacrifice, and US flags flown in their honor offer a fitting tribute. Let’s fill the field with flags!”

A local committee saluting first responders wants to blanket a site with U.S. flags, similar to the scene in this photo. local committee saluting first responders wants to blanket a site with U.S. flags, similar to the scene in this photo. Submitted photo
Organizers seek help assembling ‘Field of Honor’

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