Police officers, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters were honored at an event Friday afternoon in Maryville, Tennessee. The “Honoring Our Heroes” event was sponsored by Vanquish, a company specializing in security and transportation services.
In attendance were officers from over 200 agencies in 10 East Tennessee counties. Those attending the gathering enjoyed live music, drinks, and barbecue. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the free event also had face painting, horse petting, a UT Lifestar helicopter landing, and a bounce house.
Eric Barton, president of Vanquish, said that the goal of the event was to say thank you to EMTs, firefighters, police, and their families. He also stated that he wished to give officers a display of goodwill to improve the relationship between the public and law enforcement. Barton said, “We want to be an example for not only our community and the state, but also the nation. It really is important that we show appreciation for the people who help our communities.”
There were also several lawmakers in attendance, including Congressman John J. Duncan Jr., as well as Tennessee House of Representatives Art Swann and Bob Ramsey. Representatives from the offices of U.S. Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander were also at the event.
This fun-filled extravaganza featured several speakers as well. Maryville Police and Fire Chief Tony Crisp spoke at the event and said that the officers who respond to calls and keep the streets safe are the people who deserve the most honor.
“That’s the people who do the important work for this community,” Crisp said to the crowd. He told The Daily Times that he appreciated all of the effort that Barton went through in order to put on the event. He said, “Hats off to Eric Barton and Vanquish Worldwide for their generosity and taking time out to honor our emergency services—our police officers, firefighters and EMTs. For that we’re grateful.”
Barton, also a former U.S. Marine, said that he was inspired to put on this event because he was frustrated that the media was constantly questioning law enforcement’s methods of keeping the peace.
Barton told those attending the event that this is “for our state, and it’s an example, we hope, for our nation, to show support for the men and women who make such a huge difference in our lives … you men and women protect us, you protect our property, our loved ones. You’re always there in emergencies, and so many times you don’t get a thank you.”