PUNXSUTAWNEY — As an event in conjunction with its Firefighters Vacation Bible School, the Punxsutawney Alliance Church will host its first-ever Firefighter Appreciation Day this weekend.
The day-long event begins at 1 p.m. and runs until whenever Saturday at the church, located at the intersection of Route 436 and Alliance Drive.
Pam Smorey, who is coordinating the event, said the appreciation day is not just for children; it’s for everyone, regardless of age, and there is no charge to attend.
Departments scheduled to take part include Punxsutawney (Central, Lindsey and Elk Run); Big Run; Knox Township; McCalmont Township; Oliver Township; Perry Township; Ringgold Township; and Rossiter.
Smorey said the idea came about while she and Connie Neal, director of disciple making ministries at the church, were planning and working with real firefighters for the church’s VBS program.
“We heard a lot of stories, and it’s been interesting putting this thing together,” she said. I kind of got to see where the heart of a fireman is.”
Eventually, it just made sense to dedicate a day to firefighters.
“The more we heard about it, the more we thought, ‘We need to do something for them,’” Smorey said.
Departments will be recognized during a 1 p.m. ceremony that kicks off the event with former Mayor John Hallman and John McBee, Punxsy’s postmaster and a member of the church, serving as emcee.
A balloon release is also scheduled for 3 p.m.
Guests from the Punxsy area will be able to have their pictures taken with members of the Central, Lindsey or Elk Run stations as reminders of which station is closest to where they live — West End, Elk Run or East End.
Those who attend can also write special messages on cards bearing each firefighter’s name.
Also, guests will have chances to check out 10 fire engines and various equipment, and firefighters are also planning some displays with fire hoses, Smorey said.
There will be a live band, face-painting for children, food and many door prizes.
In the event of rain, the event will be held inside the church’s three-court gym.
For more information, call the church at 938-8505.