By Lt. Elias Garcia
On Sept. 14, the second First Responder Appreciation Day event at the Crest R.V. Resort was revving up for a good time. The classic cars thundered into the resort while emergency vehicles from the California Highway Patrol rolled alongside a vintage fire engine from the Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation.
In the morning sun, a crane raised the star spangled banner for all to see. The canopies were raised, the vendors arranged their goods, and the local news media began setting up for their morning broadcast.
The California Correctional Institution (CCI) Honor Guard opened the event with the flag presentation. A North Kern State Prison (NKSP) Recruiter was also on site with information.
In attendance to honor local first responders were Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, Assemblyman Vince Fong and Senator Shannon Grove.
Goh and Fong commended CCI on their efforts to raise over $2,100 dollars for the Special Olympics of Southern California, Kern County. The Crest also donated $1,000 dollars of their restaurant sales.
To help pull off a successful event, CCI Correctional Officer Eric Gaona coordinates all year long with every local first-responder agency ranging from law enforcement to fire and local emergency medical services.
“The event keeps growing and the generosity of people keep increasing,” he said.
Officer Gaona and the owner of the Crest Resort presented the donation check to Kellie Peterson, Regional Manager of the Special Olympics Southern California.