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Justice proclaims Heroes Day with planned events

CHARLESTON — The state will pay tribute to police officers, firefighters, emergency medical responders and 911 dispatchers this weekend in honor of Heroes Day.

Gov. Jim Justice signed a proclamation in July naming Sept. 14 as Heroes Day. In a press release Thursday, Justice praised the bravery of the state’s first responders.

“Here in West Virginia, we have some of the most courageous, dedicated first responders that you’ll find anywhere and these men and women deserve to be honored and recognized in every way possible,” Justice said. “They’re the ones who we call on when we’re in trouble, or when we’re afraid, and they are the ones who come charging into the fire to help us every time.”

Heroes Day is annually celebrated on the second Saturday of September. It was first started by a resolution sponsored by a former Doddridge County delegate, Roger Romine, in 2015. A former Ritchie County delegate, Jason Harshbarger, first approached Justice in 2017 about seeking an annual proclamation.

Delegate David Kelly, R-Tyler, the former sheriff of Pleasants County, has taken up the Heroes Day torch.

“It’s important for us to continually remember and honor our brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect our local communities,” Kelly said. “Heroes Day is a special occasion to remind us to go out of our way to show appreciation and gratitude for all their tremendous work.”

Justice said this year’s Heroes Day is more important due to several incidents that resulted in either the death or injury of first responders in 2019.

These include the death of two Nicholas County EMTs who died in an ambulance crash while returning on their way back to their station. Earlier this year, two State Police troopers were injured in separate incidents: one was shot in Pocahontas County, while the other was struck by a telecommunications line during an interstate incident in Berkeley County.

“Heroes like these do so much good for West Virginia every day it’s unbelievable, but sometimes it comes at a great cost,” Justice said. “Holding this day of recognition only scratches the surface of what these incredible men and women truly deserve. But, it’s my honor and privilege to be able to thank these heroes, on behalf of all West Virginians, for everything that they do.”

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