Sisters residents turned out on Saturday morning, June 27, to show appreciation for firefighters and police.

Cort Horner, Sisters resident and organizer of a rally held on the corner of Highway 20 and Pine Street, said that this was a positive, all-inclusive gathering with the sole purpose of letting all first responders know they are appreciated.

First responders are always at the forefront of every incident or disaster, and they assure the safety and well-being of the population.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics, firefighters, and police officers are all considered first responders.

Horner told The Nugget, “This ‘appreciation gathering’ was a spontaneous idea. Like all of us, I think we’ve been overwhelmed with negative messaging toward police forces across the country and regionally, and it just seemed to me like the negativity was very out of balance with all the positives they provide every day. I floated it on one of our local community pages and there was immediate support, so I thought there was no better time than the present to organize something.”

He added, “So many organizations work together to keep Sisters Country safe, I expanded the idea to include first responders as well — our Fire, Police, EMS, USFS, ODFW — all of them are dedicated to their jobs and our community, and deserve thanks too, so this is for all of them.”

Sno-Cap owner Lacey Weeks and general manager Jennifer Seher expressed immediate support by offering their front sidewalks as a gathering place, as well as offering any first responders a free meal from the restaurant.

Nearly 15 supporters held signs with a positive message for all first responders.

Retired firefighter Gary Eidsmoe held up the American flag with the thin blue line representing law enforcement, promoting compassion for our nation’s police officers.

Sisters resident Jennifer Smith, another supporter, said, “I have a lot of friends in the Sisters Country community that are first responders. I think it’s really important to acknowledge them not only for the time we are in right now, but in all other times as well.”

Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District fire truck and an ambulance drove by the rally, turning on their lights and waving. Cars honked showing support. And throughout the peaceful gathering until 1 p.m. many first responders drove by to say thank you — Black Butte Ranch Fire Department, the Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District and Deschutes County Sheriff and many more.

Amanda Moore was there showing support along with her dog, Gracie Lou.

“The first responders are absolutely important and vital to the Sisters community and we need to support them in every way,” said Moore.

Seher took a moment’s break and stepped out of Sno-Cap to talk to The Nugget.

“I am a retired nurse and if we didn’t have the first responders, especially in our community, we wouldn’t have the life we do,” she said. “ They keep us safe. They keep us healthy. I have been on the receiving end of the EMS multiple times personally and I can’t thank them enough for what they do. You don’t do it for the money, you do it because you have a love for people, a caregiver’s mentality. That’s what this is; caring for the caregivers because they need to know how much we appreciate them.”