Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Lifeline Ambulance Operations Supervisor Riley Woods hangs off a Thatcher Fire truck to give last second information regarding the parade.
Thatcher, Safford next, followed by Fort Thomas next week
By Jon Johnson
PIMA – Emergency horns and sirens echoed throughout Pima late Wednesday afternoon, but it wasn’t for police action, EMS, or fire; no, it was the sound of solidarity between our county’s first responders and its citizens in this time of need.
The first responders’ parade was organized by Lifeline Ambulance Operations Supervisor Riley Woods, who said the idea first came to him after the tragic loss of three of our area’s youth in a school van rollover coming home from a field trip.
“The community came around with ‘Gila Valley Strong’ and we came together,” Woods said. “And our community is kind of hurting at this time – not much for the kids to do – so we wanted to come together and give the kids something to look forward to and put a smile on their face(s).”
The event featured participants from fire departments, law enforcement agencies, and EMS. Pima Police Chief Diane Cauthen said the event helps the community be reassured that there are people looking out for them while the novel coronavirus COVID-19 rampages throughout the state and nation.
“It lets people know that we’re secure in our little valley down here,” she said. “EMS (and) law enforcement (are) taking care of our communities.”
Graham County Sheriff P.J. Allred said the event served as a reminder to let people know those first responders are out there on the front line working for the people.
“We just want everybody to know that we’re still servicing our communities,” Allred said. “Even though it’s kind of a down time for a lot of folks, it’s still a positive time and we’re doing all the correct things wherever we might be at this time. So, that’s the main thing, just keep on doing good and correct things and we’ll all get back to normal one of these days.”
Since the annual town Easter event won’t be happening this year, Pima Town Council member Sherrill Teeter rode with Cauthen and handed out bags of Easter Eggs with candy to children along the route.
The first responders’ parade will be repeated in Thatcher on Thursday, Safford on Friday, and Fort Thomas on Tuesday, April 14.