First responders host “EFFORT” event

Published: Jun. 25, 2022 at 5:19 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - For the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office “EFFORT” is an acronym: Enabling Friends For Our Response Teams.

It’s also an event started seven years ago as a way for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office to connect with the special needs community.

“They need to know that when they see us, that’s a good thing they can they can take comfort in that because we’re going to take care of them,” Montgomery County Sheriff Rick Partin said.

“My son really enjoys this and I think it’s good for the officers to get to know them as well and it makes him feel better about being around emergency services, loud noises, that kind of thing,” Mom of a child with disabilities Heather Hall said.

Her son, Michael, was a participant at the EFFORT Day event June 25.

“I think it’s good for the officers to to get to know the kids that are in the community, should they ever run across them,” she said.

Michael got to show off his first responder skills through an obstacle course and kicking through a door.

“It was easy getting it open because I have strong muscles,” he said.

“The best part is what we see afterwards in the community,” Montgomery County Sheriff’s Capt. Kim Haug said. “When we see the kids in these events, and they remember us from here, we’ve had kids tell us that they’ve heard an ambulance and it wasn’t scary because they they asked them to turn the lights off.”

The goal is to show people with special needs that first responders want to help. Partin says this event does just that.

“When they see us, they run up to us and hug us because they’ve been through a traumatic event and they see something that or someone they associate with good and they’re there to help and that’s the goal,” he said. “That’s what we want to have happen.”

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