By Anastasia Marchese
The Chester Township and Borough Recreation director along with the Chester Township Summer Day Camp held a special “Hero’s Day” on Fri., July 29.
This event was organized to honor local first responders and veterans while giving the campers the opportunity to show the community’s appreciation. It was also open to the public. The Chester Township Police Department, The Chester Volunteer Fire Department, and the Chester Volunteer First Aid squad were on site with their emergency vehicles.
Campers and community members were invited to explore the vehicles and see how they enable these local heroes to do their jobs.
According to the town website, “These everyday heroes were honored with songs, poems, thank you notes and a light reception expressing appreciation for keeping Chester safe and protecting our way of life.”
The Morris County Sheriff’s Department also participated with members of their K-9 Unit & Bomb Squad. This part of the sheriff’s department, “is a specialized team of sheriff’s officers who use highly trained dogs to perform services such as search and rescue operations, narcotics and arson detection and fugitive tracking. Working in tandem with the bomb squad, this unit also responds to explosive emergencies for purposes of bomb detection and disposal,” according to the department’s website.
These specially trained officers put on a demonstration of how the dogs and officers work together, “which educated and entertained campers and visitors alike,” according to Recreation Director Maxine Finney.
The Chester Recreation Camp program runs for first through eighth grade. Children participate in a “traditional camp format where they rotate through a variety of supervised activities throughout the week including games, team building, arts & crafts, sports, music, swimming, entertainment, weekly talent show, camp Olympics and field trips all in one week of fun,” as described on the website. The camp program for this year ran from July 5 through Aug. 12.
Some of the other events that were scheduled for campers to participate in this year were a Camp Carnival Day, bowling at Circle Lanes, taking in a Somerset Patriots Baseball Game, a trip to Medieval Times, a cool trip to Frog Falls Water park, and an outing to the Turtle back Zoo.
There was one field trip planned per week of camp. The Hero’s Day event however provided a unique opportunity for the campers not to only enjoy themselves but to give the gift of appreciation to the very special group of men and women who protect and serve their community.
During the week preceding the event, the campers worked on artwork to celebrate the service of these local heroes. During the event , they campers presented thank you posters to each department that came. The stage was decorated with an American flag that the campers had made from their hand prints. The participants dressed with a red, white and blue theme to honor the service each local hero is giving not only to the community, but to the nation as well.
After the presentation, the participants were treated to an American flag cake that had been donated by Shoprite of Chester and Registered Dietitian Grace McGuirk.