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A small token of appreciation for first responders


The backbone of our community’s safety is our First Responders – the police, firefighters, emergency medical professionals and 911 operators who work tirelessly each day to protect us from harm.

The Chamber was privileged to pay tribute to these dedicated men and women at our annual First Responders Appreciation breakfast event on September 18 at Oasis Hotel & Convention Center. More than 300 people gathered from across the community, including roughly 150 first responders from our area.

This marked the third year for the event, which was focused entirely on honoring the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way, often without recognition – the police officers who put their lives at risk to enforce the law, firefighters who rush in to scenes of life-threatening danger and the EMTs and 911 professionals who are the first to respond to unexpected emergencies were the stars of the day.

“Their reliability, responsiveness and professional skill not only keep us safe but also strengthen our business community’s opportunities to thrive,” Chamber President Matt Morrow said.

Front and center in offering that respect was the event’s keynote speaker, Zim Schwartze. Schwartze serves as director of Springfield-Greene County 911 Emergency Communications, and she previously spent more than 20 years serving in leadership roles in both emergency management and law enforcement.

During her speech, Schwartze repeatedly expressed her appreciation – both to her fellow first responders for their dedication and commitment and to the Chamber members in attendance for their support.

“You don’t know how much this means to us,” she said. “You may not realize it, but even the smallest show of recognition means a lot.”

Numerous Chamber member companies showed their support by sponsoring the event, including Presenting Sponsor Rick’s Automotive and Gold Sponsors Convoy of Hope, Oasis Hotel & Convention Center and Radiophone Engineering.

“These hard-working men and women are willing to take these jobs so that we can go about our daily lives – in our businesses, on the road, in our homes,” Rick Hughlett, president of Rick’s Automotive, told KOLR-10, “so it’s just a chance for us to come together and honor them.”

If you’d like to see more images from this year’s event, visit our Photo Galleries page!

Supported by BKD CPAs & Advisors
Supported by BKD CPAs & Advisors
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