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Grey Skies Don’t Dampen Spirit of Fourth Annual Heroes Day

By Staff | Sep 16, 2015

Photo by Lauren Matthews Pictured are West Virginia Delegate Roger Romine, Rev. Bill Dawson, Ginger Nalley of Rep. David McKinley’s office, and Alyssa Petroplus, Regional Representative for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office.

The weather was rainy and cold, but that did not stop area residents from coming out and supporting local first responders on the fourth annual Heroes Day, which also happened to be the first statewide.

“Heroes Day started first of all to remember the folks of 9-11, but I’ve watched and been a part of first responders of various parts of West Virgina and Maryland, and I’m honored to have these guys and gals as friends and I’m honored to call them brothers and sisters,” said Rev. Bill Dawson of Heroes Day, which was his idea.

Delegate Roger Romine, who helped to pass the Heroes Day resolution statewide, was present for the event, along with his sister, wife, and brother-in-law. “It’s great to see everyone here,” Romine stated.

“Pastor Bill Dawson, I give him all the credit in the world,” he later stated. “He’s the one who, not only a volunteer himself, but he’s the one who orchestrated it and put everything together. I escorted it through the legislature, and I think it’s great. Many time, deservingly so, we recognize people on a national level, but everyday, these people are our heroes, on a daily basis. Many times, they are volunteers.”

Alyssa Petroplus, Regional Representative for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office, read a statement on behalf of Tomblin.

Pictured are members of the Middlebourne, Sistersville, Paden City, Alma, and Shirley Volunteer Fire Departments. (Photo by Makayla Tracy)

“This special observance is in tribute to all first responders, including those who answered the call of duty on September 11, 2001. Today we honor law enforcement officers of all kinds, firefighters and emergency service personnel,” Tomblin stated. “They deserve our gratitude, as their courage and compassion continue to make a difference in the lives of the many. They serve and protect to keep us safe from harm, and I’m grateful for their commitment, bravery and sacrifice.”

Tomblin also applauded everyone who made Heroes Day possible. “I’m happy to see so many West Virginians join in this effort. Congratulations on a job well done!” Tomblin stated.

“On behalf of the citizens of West Virginia, I offer my heartfelt support to all first responders. They are true American heroes,” Tomblin said.

Ginger Nalley, of Representative David McKinley’s office, also read a statement, on behalf of McKinley.

“Most of us can remember what it felt like to watch the twin towers fall fourteen years ago. It’s a memory that scars us all,” McKinley had stated. “As the world watched in disbelief, first responders EMT, fire fighters and police raced in to help and stayed to help for weeks. But today is not just about remembering those men and women in New York who lost their lives on September 11th. It is about honoring all of our first responders’ especial those here in West Virginia.”

Members of the Sistersville Police Department and Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department, along with Sistersville Mayor Bill Rice.

“Thank you for what you do for your community and for West Virginia … You make a difference every day and you are so deserving of being honored today,” McKinley said. “I hope more little boys and girls want to grow up and be like you … May God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”

“I thought that Heroes Day 2015 was a wonderful success,” Dawson later stated. “With the support of House Resolution 16 and the Proclamation from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, I feel that the public took ownership and showed up to support all of the scheduled activities. With the addition of the WV Vietnam Veterans of America “Mobile Wall” visiting, along with the escort from Bens Run, I knew this was going to be a success.”

“He continued, “Passing Momentive and seeing their fire/rescue trucks setting out and the employees waving flags and welcoming the “Wall” to Tyler County ,was impressive. It was like that all the way to city park. The veterans and family that came to visit the wall were touched by the opportunity to pause, pray, talk, remember, tell stories, and to know that they aren’t alone. Vietnam veterans welcomed each-other home and counselors and veterans groups offering help and information were there to guide those who needed help and/or information. The POW/MIA service was very emotional. Following the service, some folks could be seen wiping tears or just standing there weeping as they remembered and saw the love of our community toward our Vietnam Veterans.”

Dawson stated that with the help of Delegate Romine, he knows Heroes Day 2016 “will happen on the second Saturday of September.”

“I will begin contacting military units and other agencies and make sure the Heroes Day continues to be a time of remembrance of 9/11 victims and celebrating our local First Responders and veterans,” he said.

Spectators applauded as the color-guard led the parade onto Wells Street.

Colin Doig, of the Sistersville American Legion, rides with members of the auxiliary.