Well another 9-1-1 Festival is in the books and I am extremely proud of all the hard work and long hours our Committee and volunteers put in to make this event such a huge success. The 9-1-1 Festival Committee includes Fran Bishop, Natalie Boykin, Aubrey Haynes, Mandy Little, Michael Humphries, Brandon Norris, Melinda Weaver, Barry Haisting, John Cox and myself. I am also very thankful for all of the Festival Sponsors who through their support make this event possible. Our Diamond Sponsors this year were the City of Haleyville and Encore Rehabilitation & SportsFit, and our Platinum Sponsors were Kith Kitchens and Rowe Machinery. Without their support together with all of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Sponsors, the 9-1-1 Festival simply would not happen.
When Mayor Sunseri asked the Haleyville Area Chamber of Commerce to form a 9-1-1 Festival Committee and take this event over 5 years ago, we had very little experience putting on a festival and even less money. But with the support of the Mayor, City Council and our growing Sponsor list we have been able to accomplish our goals each year…to provide the citizens of Haleyville and the surrounding area with a family focused event, drive business to our downtown merchants, promote the City of Haleyville as the Home of 9-1-1, and recognize the individuals who answer those calls when they come, which often includes risking their lives in order to save others, our Police, Fire, and Rescue personnel. And while many people encourage us to find a way to charge a few dollars to attend our festival, as long as this committee is in charge and with the continued support of our Sponsors, the 9-1-1 Festival will be free.
To say thank you to our City of Haleyville employees is such an understatement.
The Haleyville Street & Sanitation Department spent countless hours helping us prepare and set up for the Festival. I don’t care how well we plan this event, we could not put it on without the manpower that Barry Farris and Chris Saylor provide us with. These guys worked 15-18+ hour days this weekend and did it with pride. They are and should be proud of our town and how they make it look. And no matter how big or small the task we asked of them…from hanging an extension cord off a light pole to helping setup the stage and sound, these guys were there to do it and although they had worked hours upon hours, all had great attitudes. Thank you Haleyville Street Department.
In addition, once the Festival starts and until it’s over, the Haleyville Police Department is out in force. Chief Reogas, his Officers and Staff are second to none. Anything we ask of them gets done. In the five years we have hosted this event, there has not be a single Festival related issue. This is in no small part due to the presence of the HPD has at our Festival, their training and professionalism. Thank you Haleyville Police Department.
Chief Philip Weaver and the Haleyville Fire Department personnel spend countless hours over the course of the weekend helping to make our Festival great. From setting up the ladder truck Friday afternoon so we could fly Old Glory for our National Anthem, bringing their portable lighting to illuminate our Kids Zone that night, and assisting with any medical issues, our Firemen were there. On Saturday, they were out early to set up the ladder truck for our extreme 5K, participated in the Alumni Parade, and then move the Ladder Truck up to the Kids Zone to spray water on the youngsters, which they love each year. Thank you Haleyville Fire Department.
The Haleyville Rescue Squad provided first aid and stage security and managed our Handicap Parking. We appreciate and thank the Rescue Squad and also Pastor Alan Barton and the Heritage Baptist Church for allowing us to use their parking lot this year.
If you attended our Festival and did not see numerous First Responders working then your eyes were closed. The very people we honor were once again working to serve our community. Thank them when you see them. They deserve it.
We also want to thank our Haleyville downtown merchants, who are so supportive of our Festival. Many of them make sacrifices from allowing Festival goers to use their parking lots, to closing the drive thru lanes of their businesses just because it would help us. While we believe the Festival benefits these merchants and the City as a whole, we appreciate their sacrifices.
Last, but certainly not least, we thank the Haleyville Elementary School Teachers who volunteered to work at our Kids Zone. From 5 to 11 Friday night and all day Saturday, these Teachers proved once again how much they love and care about the children of our community. This is the second year they have volunteered to help us with our Festival and their support is invaluable. At any given time, there were over 250 kids playing on the 8 different inflatables. Thank you HES. – Jade Bice