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June 7, 2011 > Sunol Glen celebrates the heroes among us

Sunol Glen celebrates the heroes among us

By Alyson Whitaker
Photos By Alyson Whitaker

When sirens blare or police cruisers' lights flash, it's not uncommon to feel a bit of anxiety-typically, we only see or hear them when something is amiss. Seeing multiple police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, bomb squad vehicles and other emergency service personnel in one place is likely to create a sense of panic in even the calmest individual.

On May 27, the blacktop behind Sunol Glen School was jam-packed with emergency vehicles flashing their lights, as well as firefighters, canine dogs, police officers, and even members of the Alameda County Bomb Squad. But there was no disaster or emergency-rather, Sunol Glen was celebrating its fourth annual Heroes' Day!

The event started when local residents and Sunol Business Guild members Ario Ysit, Nick Chapman, and Ben Rego wanted to provide a safe and fun way for kids to acquaint themselves with people in uniform. Understanding the role of emergency service agencies is important, but it's also important for children to not be afraid of the uniform and to feel comfortable interacting with emergency services personnel. They invited various local public service agencies to come to the school and share their profession with students.

Over the years, the event has grown, both in size and in popularity. This year, in addition to police and fire crews, representatives from East Bay Regional Parks District came, and brought a giant incident command center, as well as the agency's "Batmobile." Climbing onboard the Alameda County Swat Team Tank, students felt like they were in a Hollywood action film!

Classes came out one by one, and toured through the various vehicles and agencies, learning a little about what each agency does to keep us safe. In addition, students were able to ask questions, test out the back of a police cruiser, try on fire safety gear for size, climb in the back of a bomb squad vehicle, and see what goes on behind the scenes during an emergency.

Members of the Pleasanton Chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars also participated and demonstrated to students, the proper folding and presentation of the American Flag-a perfect kick-off to the long Memorial Day weekend.

Students, school staff, and guests were also treated to a barbeque lunch, courtesy of the Sunol Business Guild and contributions from the Alameda County Sheriff's office and Alameda County Fire Department. Alameda County District 6 Supervisor Nadia Lockyer's office donated ice cream for all those in attendance.

Sunol Glen Principal/Superintendent Molly Barnes is very grateful for the opportunity presented by this unique event. In addition to helping educate children about the role of public safety agencies, it's a great time to express appreciation to those who provide safety and quality of life to the town of Sunol and its surrounding communities-the real heroes among us!

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