COLORADO SPRINGS — Today, Monday October 28th, 2019 is National First Responders Day. It’s a day to recognize the heroic men and women who make it their business to take immediate action when disaster strikes to try and keep us all healthy and safe.
The students at Edith Wolford Elementary School in Academy District 20 got a jump on First Responders Day by making thank you cards and banners and presenting them to first responders from the Black Forest Fire Department and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office on Friday October 25th.
Sgt Deborah Mynatt with the Sheriff’s office says the gesture from students means a great deal. “To have them thank us and take the time to write simple little thank you notes, it's huge for us. That's the little things that remind us why each of us have signed up to do this job. It makes each of us feel so happy to receive that especially from youth.”
SHEILD616 is a Colorado Springs based non-profit that works on behalf of first responders in many ways, including helping to arrange events like this one at Edith Wolford elementary.
Jake Skifstad is the founder and president SHIELD616. “Members of law enforcement and being a firefighter or a paramedic, it's a very hard job. A lot of times they interact with these kids in bad situations whether it's violence, a car accident or other things when these kids are scared. To be able to give these kids a good interaction and to be able to let them check out the equipment and see these firefighters and deputies in a more laid-back situation on their turf at their school is important.”
Sgt Mynatt says the positive interactions with youth is a focus for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. “We encourage each of our deputies regardless of rank, to be a positive mentor in the life of our youth. To be that person they can look up to is very important to us. We hope youth feel comfortable enough to ask us questions, to say hello, and even ask what our name is.
Skifstad is a former police officer with the Colorado Springs Police Department and knows what these kinds of events mean to first responders and he hopes more schools will get involved with First Responders Day. “Our first responders need support every single day that they're out there doing a hard job.”
If you would like to learn more about SHIELD616 and how you can help support their mission, you can visit their website (HERE).