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Debut First Responder Appreciation event launches

Organizer says event "took off like wildfire"


PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - In March 2014, first responders rescued Danny Russu, age 21, from a trench after he became trapped while performing maintenance on a sewer line in Beaverton.It began with a plaque on the wall at Wilsonville’s World of Speed museum, says Tim Alexander, a volunteer at the museum and the organizer of the First Responder Appreciation event to be held there Oct. 3.

“One Saturday, one of the Portland fire guys came into the museum,” Alexander says. “I turned around and one of the plaques on our wall said ‘First Responders.’ And that was how this whole thing started.”

Prior to that Saturday, Alexander had struggled to find a way to thank first responders after his wife Beverly received life-saving medical care from Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue twice last year — once for a burst appendix and once for a heart problem.

“They were immediately on the scene to help her,” Alexander says.

He hadn’t heard of any event organized for that purpose prior to beginning to organize one himself. But he reached out to first responders across the area and invited them to attend, from Multnomah, Clackamas and Marion counties, and from cities including Gresham and Salem.

He invited fire district and police department responders, but also staff, including “911 operators and all the people who work in emergency rooms,” Alexander says.

The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. “All the people that I talked to said they’ve never heard of anything like this,” Alexander says.

The response from the rest of the community was equally positive.

“The thing took off like wildfire,” he says. “They just can’t wait to thank these guys.”

The event will feature a number of emergency response vehicles, and possibly a SWAT team vehicle from Salem. A canine unit from Clackamas County will attend and conduct a demonstration for attendees. A crime division officer will DJ. There will be pizza and other refreshments as well.

Alexander says that he would like the event to be an annual one. Next year, he would like to hold an event for First Responders Day in a local park.

Although the event should be fun for attendees of all ages, Alexander says that for him, the most important thing is to thank the first responders.

“I would just like people to know to come there to thank these guys,” Alexander says. “The one thing I want to do most of all is stand in front of them and say, ‘Hey guys, thank you for what you do for us.’ They risk their lives without question, and they’re always there for us.”

Beverly Alexander agreed. “I feel that this is a great opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has helped me through the last year, and a big thank you for what they do for the community and everyone else,” she says.

First Responder Appreciation to be held Saturday, Oct. 3, 8 a.m.-11 a.m. at the World of Speed museum, 27490 SW 95th Ave., Wilsonville.

For more information, email Tim Alexander at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-789-4317.

Jake Bartman can be contacted at 503-636-1281 ext. 113 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..