The second appreciation event to honor the community's first responders will be held prior to the Gahanna Lions and New Albany Eagles football game Friday, Sept. 15, at Lincoln High School.

Representatives from Veterans of Foreign Wars Tri-Community Post 4719, American Legion Post 797, Gahanna Division of Police, New Albany Division of Police, Mifflin Township's fire and police departments, Jefferson Township Fire Department, Franklin County's Sheriff's Office, U.S. armed forces and veterans and the Ohio Department of Veterans Services will gather on the football field to be recognized.

Prior to the start of the game at 7 p.m., the VFW and American Legion posts will host a community cookout at 5 p.m. Residents will have an opportunity to meet some of the area's first responders.

The appreciation event was an initiative started by the late Jerry Kerr, former commander of VFW Post 4719. He died two weeks after the inaugural event last year.

"As a tribute to commander Kerr, a Marine who served in Vietnam, we are proud to continue this great tradition in our community of recognizing our first responders," said Tom Kneeland, Gahanna mayor.

Creating the event was Kerr's way to bring the community together to thank Gahanna's first responders.

"On behalf of first responders and the families of those who are represented, we wish to thank commander Kerr, his family, all veterans and all those who came together to recognize us following the 16th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11," a joint statement released by the sponsoring agencies read. "In turn, we ask that we all keep the first responders and the brave citizens of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in your thoughts and prayers as they work to recover from these historic events. They are the true heroes."

During the ceremony, the Department of Veterans Services will present challenge coins and commemorative pins to military first responders.

Residents can express their thanks by signing banners that will be displayed at Gahanna's fire and police department facilities.

Leading up to the event, residents can also express their gratitude via social media by using the hashtag #ThankYouFirstResponders.

Residents are encouraged to wear blue on the night of the event in honor of police, fire and EMS personnel.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla