By CALVIN PYNN
WYTHEVILLE – The Wythe County Board of Supervisors will host the second annual “Wythe County Fire and Rescue Appreciation Day,” next Saturday, Aug. 23.
According to Wythe County spokesperson Jeremy Farley, the event is open to the county’s fire and rescue responders, as well as emergency 911 dispatchers and their respective families. The festivities will be held at the Rural Retreat Lake Park, and are set to begin at noon and last until 4 p.m., with a catered meal around 1 p.m.
According to the event’s organizers, they have been working tirelessly to ensure the appreciation day lives up to a standard worthy of the county’s first responders.
“It’s going to be a fun day,” said Wythe County Emergency Manager Ikey Davidson. “The participation from local businesses has been nothing short of overwhelming.”
Davidson said the county has collected roughly $500 in gift cards from local donors, as well as countless shirts, hats and other items, which will be given away as door prizes at the event.
“Wings Air Rescue has agreed to raffle off free helicopter rides. There’s going to be a corn hole tournament, catered meal and games for the kids,” said Davidson.
Corporate sponsors for the event are Southwest Environmental, First Call Environmental and Wings Air Rescue.
Though attendance for the event will be open only to the county’s first responders, Wythe County officials made the decision to allow free swimming at the Rural Retreat Lake Park Pool for all local residents on Aug. 23, in honor of the county’s emergency responders.
“None of us could ever adequately thank the first responders who serve our communities,” said Kevin Williams, the county’s Parks and Recreation director. “We do hope, however, that by opening the county’s swimming pool up to the general public, free of charge, in their honor, we would at least be sending a message that we are aware of the work they do and appreciate it very much.”
The free swim day comes just one week before the pool’s close for the season, which is slated for Labor Day weekend.
This week, with the start of school in Wythe County, the Rural Retreat Lake Pool changed its hours to weekends only, Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.
“We appreciate the county proclaiming a free swim day at the pool, in honor of fire and rescue responders,” said Davidson.