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Editor’s Note: In this week’s edition we report on the “First Responders Honor & Appreciation Dinner,” that is, the event itself. In next week’s edition the Sun Times will present a profile of the First Responder agencies that serve our community.

It started, according to Cal and Wanda Sand, with the simple thought – as a community, we’ve never really said “thank you” to our First Responders.

With that, the idea was born for the Fairfield community to pay honor to, and show their appreciation of, all the First Responders that serve our community.

Cal said that he and Wanda bounced the idea off of others in the town, and they, too, thought it was a good idea.

Next, Cal and Wanda approached the churches in Fairfield.

“They were 150 per cent supportive,” Cal told the Sun Times.

The planned event will honor the Fairfield Fire Department, Fairfield Ambulance, Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Teton County Search and Rescue, Emergency Dispatchers and the Montana Highway Patrol.

Early estimates were for a crowd of about 350, so the logical place to hold the event was at the Fairfield Community Hall. Recently, the estimate has grown to over 400 expected as current and retired First Responders and their families join with the Fairfield community for the “First Responders Honor & Appreciation Dinner.”


Members of the Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department respond to a fire at The Aragon in Fairfield on April 10, 1987 - 32 years ago - almost to the day. Firemen and residents who recall the fire say it was the biggest ever experienced by the town and the fire department.

According to Cal and Wanda, the Fairfield Community Hall Board stepped up to the plate and waived the Hall’s rental fee for the event.

Lending a hand at the event will be members of the Fairfield National Honors Society, 4-H and the Fairfield High School First Responder Class.

The dinner will consist of hamburgers and hot dogs, with Fairfield’s churches rounding out the plates with goodies.

Faith Bible Church will be supplying the condiments, pickles and relish; Grace and St. Paul Lutheran Churches will be taking care of the baked beans. The rolls and buns will be donated by the Fairfield Mennonite Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints, Fairfield Ward, will supply the desserts.

Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church will be bringing the cole slaw, and New Life Church will be supplying the chips. Fairfield United Church of Christ will be bringing the coffee and lemonade to wash all the goodies down, along with the paper pates, etc.

Cal and Wanda said that the town’s churches were “enthusiastic” about lending a hand.

The Boe Foundation is covering the cost of the hamburgers and hot dogs.

Ross Fitzgerald, himself a First Responder, serving 13 years with the ambulance and 28 years with the Fire Department will serve as emcee.

The event is free, but there will be a free will donation basket so that people can help offset the costs of the event. Any money donated above the cost for the hot dogs and hamburgers will be distributed to benefit the local first responders.

The dinner will be held on Sunday, April 28. Doors will open at noon, with dinner served at 1:00 pm. The program will start at 2:30 p.m.