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'Tribute to Those Who Serve' event Saturday will honor military personnel, first-responders

The event will take place at Parkview North Family Park

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 12:01 am

Those who risk their lives to protect the community and country will be honored during a “Tribute to Those Who Serve” event 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Parkview North Family Park, on Parkview Plaza Drive north of Dupont Road on the Parkview Regional Medical Center campus.

Activities will focus on honoring and thanking military personnel, law enforcement officers and emergency responders, said Emery McClendon, event organizer.

McClendon founded the event in 2004 as Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day. With the help of operators of amateur, or ham, radios here and around the world, people could speak with troops stationed in the United States and overseas.

During the early years, he and other organizers learned people often were afraid to speak on ham radios, so the event evolved into its current form of a rally for and tribute to those who serve, he said.

Some of the activities planned include:

•A Fort Wayne Fire Department truck on display, with firefighters able to answer questions

•Three canine officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department providing a demonstration of what they and their dogs can do.

•The Indianapolis Colts' Colts in Motion traveling museum.

•Parkview's Don't Text and Drive program.

•A pass through the park by the Freedom Riders patriotic motorcycle riders.

•Demonstrations by ham radio operators.

•Giveaways of door prizes and other items.

Speakers

A number of speakers also will make presentations, including:

•Government officials, such as Mayor Tom Henry, County Commissioners member Nelson Peters and County Council member Kevin Howell.

•Three U.S. military members, including a military chaplain.

•Two doctors who will speak on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injury, respectively.

•A representative of Hoosiers Helping Heroes will discuss the organization's work sending care packages to U.S. military personnel overseas, including its work with The News-Sentinel and Fort Wayne Komets on the Komets Kare Package program.

Remembering the fallen

The event also will include observing a moment of silence for Oklahoma tornado victims, McClendon said.

He will conclude activities with an acknowledgment of all who currently serve and have served in the U.S. military, law enforcement and emergency-response in northeast Indiana, a moment of silence for those who have died, and a prayer.