JASPER — The Veterans of Foreign War hosted the First Responders dinner on March 8 as a thank you for everything they do for the county.

The dinner was originally planned for September 2017 on Patriots Day but had to be postponed due to Hurricane Irma. The 2018 dinner is still planned for the month of September 

Post Commander Billy Jackson opened the dinner with a few words about the dinner being delayed from September to March.

Lamar Royals gave the blessing for the evening to recognize the first responders and  the dinner.

Bo Beauchemin,  the county veterans service officer, gave a few words to thank and recognize all first responders and military members.

“Almost 4,000 died the day of the 9/11 attack and as of 2016, there has been at least 1,000 people who have died from health related problems from 9/11,” Beauchemin said. “Four hundred and eleven of  those killed in 9/11 were first responders. Three hundred forty-three of them were police officers, 60 were firefighters and eight were EMS.”

Beauchemin added: “There is a prediction that over the next five years there will be 3,000 more casualties. HCSO has 18, EMS has 14 and EOC has less than 12 firefighters and responded to 19,000 calls. We thank you.”

At the end of the program, there were prizes given out to all first responders at the dinner. Jackson was happy to announce that they had received enough prize donations for everyone to receive something this year.

Jessie R. Box is a reporter for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press. Her beats include general assignment, government and police. ​

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