Sept. 11 is a solemn day for most of the nation, but Mountain View Retirement Village is hoping to turn the day of remembrance into a celebration for all first responders and their roles in the community.
“It’s just really nice to be able to give back,” said Joni Chandler, activities director for Mountain View Retirement Village. “It’s a day to never forget and to honor those that lost their lives.”
The retirement community is hosting its “7th Annual First Responders Appreciation Block Party” on Tuesday, Sept. 11 with numerous local first responders and veterans in tow.
Guest speakers will include Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath, Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier and Golder Ranch Fire Chief Randy Karrer.
In addition to the speakers, numerous first responder organizations will host displays and demonstrations, including the Oro Valley K-9 Unit, Pima County SWAT and Bomb Squad, members of the Border Patrol, and the Golder Ranch Fire Department’s Ladder trucks.
“Being in an assisted living community, we have first responders here every day,” Chandler said. “They do such a great job.”
According to Chandler, Mountain View has upwards of 40 veterans and former first responders in their community. So many so that they have a dedicated veterans wall. When veterans first move into Mountain View, they put their picture on the wall, along with which branch of the military they were in, and a photo of them during their active duty days.
“They are not forgotten here at Mountain View, that’s for sure,” Chandler said.
One of the recurring guests at the event are the members of the Golder Ranch Fire District.
“Mountain View always likes for us to bring our ladder trucks and to have the chief speak,” said Anne-Marie Braswell, GRFD Community Relations Manager. “It’s a very nice event, the community is so engaged and thoughtful.”
Beyond speeches and demonstrations, the block party will also feature a barbeque lunch serving “drive thru” meals for first responders.
“This type of event is particularly meaningful for the fire fighters,” Braswell said. “We’re very fortunate to have a community so supportive of first responders, especially on a day like Sept. 11.”
Mountain View also hopes for the event to be as educational as it is celebratory. They even reached out to local schools to host field trips to Block Party.
“The only way we learn about our service members and what they do is to talk to them,” Chandler said. “And to have all the first responders here and to be able to learn about what they do and meet them all in one place, that’s huge.”
The 7th Annual First Responders Appreciation Block Party at Mountain View Retirement Village is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11. 7900 N. La Canada Drive. Open to the public. All ages.