W.Va. first responders recognized

HARRISVILLE — An expanded West Virginia Heroes Day: A Salute to First Responders honoring first responders will be held Friday, Sept. 13, at the Ritchie County 4-H Grounds on West Virginia 16 outside of Harrisville.

Organizers are inviting first responders from the region to be recognized for their service, said the Rev. Bill Dawson, an organizer of the event.

The event, in addition to entertainment, concessions and children’s activities, will include an opening ceremony with state and local officials and possibly Gov. Jim Justice, Dawson said. Justice, by gubernatorial order in 2017, declared the second Saturdays in September as Heroes Day in recognition of the service provided by first responders and public safety forces.

Dawson said the event in Ritchie County is an expansion of the first Heroes Day ceremony celebrated in 2011 in Sistersville, 10 years after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

It will be the first Heroes Day recognition in Ritchie County, Dawson said.

“We wanted to do something big this year,” he said.

Sponsoring the event is Rick Modesitt Associates, a Parkersburg-based entertainment promotions company, Dawson said. Dawson is seeking other sponsors and anyone interested can contact him at 304-771-8522.

The Heroes Day schedule is:

* 6:30 p.m., opening ceremony.

* 7 p.m., Jim Forshey as Elvis Presley.

* 8 p.m., The Carriers.

* 9 p.m., Cody Wickline.

Besides recognizing public safety forces, Dawson hopes the ceremony will encourage residents to volunteer in their communities.

Dawson is a volunteer firefighter. He is the pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Harrisville.

In 2015, the West Virginia Legislature, in House Resolution 16, adopted the second Saturday of September as Heroes Day in West Virginia. In 2017, Justice also declared every second Saturday of September as Heroes Day.

Other events around the state are planned, Dawson said.

A recognition of Heroes Day will be held at the West Virginia University-North Carolina State football game on Sept. 14.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com