By Tamas Mondovics
Hot dogs, cupcakes, balloons and, of course, a who lot of “thank-you’s” greeted members of local law enforcement, rescue squad, volunteer fire departments, and emergency management during a first responders appreciation celebration.
The event hosted last week by Johnson County Bank in Mountain City honored the men and women who are first on the scene of an
incident or emergency, often putting their lives on the line.
“This is the first time we have hosted this event, which includes the donation of $2,600 to our local first responders,” said Megan McEwen with Johnson County Bank.
McEwen, herself a volunteer firefighter with the Doe Valley fire department and is a Johnson County Commissioner, explained that the money was divided up equally between the 13 departments, including the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Mountain City Police Department, the nine volunteer fire departments, the Johnson County Emergency Management Agency as well as the Johnson County Rescue Squad. All received $200 each.
“We just can not thank you enough for all that you all do for our community,” said Johnson County Bank president Bonnie Reece. “We appreciate all of you and the hard work you do on behalf of the community and us.”
Representing the Laurel Bloomery volunteer fire department and Johnson County Emergency Dispatch Center (E 911) assistant director Kevin Colson expressed his appreciation for the recognition by JCB as well as the entire community when he said, “We are grateful for what the community is doing for us. It is nice to be recognized and appreciated. It really made our day.”
Whether it’s a car accident, a fire, or a health emergency, when trouble arrives, first responders are the highly skilled and trained local heroes who come to the rescue. These men and women are often the first contact and are the first on the scene.
The majority of funding for Johnson County 911, which is governed by a board of directors, comes from the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board, or TECB fund allocation.
More than half comes from the 911 fee charged on landline and cell phone bills at $1.17 per phone. The rest comes from the TECB, and they allocate these funds. Johnson County provides 14 percent of the funding, and the Town of Mountain City provides 11 percent of Johnson County 911 services.
Residents are urged to value, respect and support these heroes as they diligently work to get the job done and save lives in the process.