The inaugural First Responders Appreciation Day was held on Friday at Grimes Field Airport.
The celebration recognized the men and women who protect and care for area residents in times of emergency.
Several local dignitaries addressed those in attendance at the ceremony and the Urbana High School band provided the music.
One of the speakers, Urbana Fire Division Chief Dean Ortlieb, said during the ceremony: “As first responders, we are only as good as the community we serve.”
The “Field of Honor” of U.S. flags flying in tribute to the first responders has been installed and will be on display throughout the Memorial Day weekend and on Memorial Day. The flags are on 8-foot poles in rows.
The “Field of Honor” was made possible by donations from Champaign County businesses and private individuals who purchased a display flag to show support and gratitude for local first responders. Each flag has a yellow ribbon attached recognizing a loved one.
This year, the proceeds from the event will be used to purchase “carbon hoodies” for the Urbana Fire Division. Each year a different department or division of first responders will receive the event’s proceeds.
The event was sponsored by Walter & Lewis Funeral Home and Cremation Services.