The Gahanna area community can thank its first responders on Friday, Sept. 7, when Veterans of Foreign Wars Tri-Community Post 4719 and American Legion Post 797 host the third annual First Responders Appreciation Night at Gahanna Lincoln High School, 140 S. Hamilton Road.

First responders from the VFW and Legion, Gahanna Division of Police, Mifflin Township fire and police departments, Jefferson Township Fire Department and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office will gather on the football field before the kickoff to be recognized for their service.

"We're extremely proud of our first responders and thankful for the work they do to help keep our community safe, both at home and abroad," said Tom Kneeland, Gahanna mayor.

Residents will be able to meet and interact with first responders during a 5 p.m. tailgate the VFW and Legion will host. The public is encouraged to wear the color blue in honor of police, fire and EMS providers.

During a 6:45 p.m. ceremony, Joann Kerr, widow of the late Jerry Kerr who was commander of Post 4719, will provide the coin toss in his honor.

"First Responders Night, as originally envisioned by the late Jerry Kerr provides an opportunity for the first responders of Gahanna to come together with our students, athletes, teachers, staff and parents to celebrate as one," said Jeff Spence, Gahanna police chief.

"Law enforcement and the fire services in Gahanna are blessed to have the support of such a great community," he said.

In an interview before the event in 2016, Kerr said the first-responders event became a dream of his when he learned about the VFW post in Chagrin Falls doing something similar. He said it was something the community should do regularly.

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

"Our professional firefighters, police officers and 911 dispatchers work tirelessly to keep our community safe," said Fred Kauser, Mifflin fire chief. "I know they are grateful and humbled by the community recognition."

The home game between Gahanna and Springboro will begin at 7 p.m.

Gahanna Residents In Need will be on site to accept nonperishable, unexpired food donations.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla