Recent events have challenged firefighters, paramedics, police officers, EMT personnel, and many others in unprecedented ways. The effects of COVID-19 also have reemphasized the important role of providing comprehensive training for these courageous first responders. To demonstrate the rigorous and continuous training required by those choosing to wear the uniform, the Multi Agency Academic Cooperative (MAAC) Foundation has organized a special community-wide education event in collaboration with General Insurance Services (GIS).
“GIS and their team are steadfast supporters of our first responder community,” said Celina Weatherwax, Board Treasurer and President of McMillan Family Foundation. “Our partnership to advance the training efforts of the MAAC Emergency Services Training campus naturally progressed to us organizing an event that brings the community together.”
“We’ve supported local fire and police departments for many years, and collaborate annually with the Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department on our Family Safety Day, so when we learned about the work the MAAC Foundation was doing with the first responders in our community, it became a natural partnership,” said Kara Moon, Marketing Coordinator for GIS. “We’re proud to support the training efforts at the MAAC and share with those who might not realize the state-of-the-art campus we have in our own backyard.”
The First Responder Appreciation Event on August 22 will include live demonstrations and activities led by first responders from Lake, Porter, La Porte, and other surrounding counties. The Lima Lima Flight Team will have flight demonstrations over the MAAC campus at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The event is being held at the MAAC, Emergency Services Training Campus, 4203 Montdale Park Drive Valparaiso, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. It is a free family-friendly event but tickets are required, and are available through Eventbrite.
“Our guests will be able to see firsthand training that first responders endure to be prepared to help us on our worst days. Together, we can strengthen the training landscape for all emergency services personnel,” Weatherwax said. “We will also have social distancing and COVID-19 safety measures in place to the best of our abilities, and all activities will be spread out between the 15 acres of the outdoor training campus.”
Attendees will have the opportunity to visit 15 stations that include K9 demonstrations, virtual reality training, rope rescue, residential search, tactical SWAT, helicopter landings, and more. Children who visit every station will be presented with their own First Responder Badge. Food will be available for purchase from Pickle Barrel Sirloin Tips and Big Dough Productions.
“Every time I visit the MAAC, I’m amazed and fascinated with the training I’ve seen firsthand,” Moon said. “It has given me such a respect for the work our first responders are doing on a daily basis. I hope attendees have that same feeling when they see it for themselves and interact with the brave men and women that may one day be there to protect them.”