The need for a pro-active response to the cowardly actions of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon calls to mind the great sacrifices made by the men and women of the emergency services of all levels of American government.
The loss of more than 300 firefighters in New York City allows the citizens of Soldotna to focus their pro-active response on a symbol of the firefighter -- the fire hydrant -- and to use that symbol for our patriotic expression of solidarity and national pride. Soldotna, being the Kenai Peninsula's River City, is especially pleased to use the fire hydrant, a source of water and life, as our community's fountain of hope, remembrance and justice.
Accordingly, I call on all citizens of the greater Soldotna area to participate in a community activity of painting the 388 Soldotna city fire hydrants red, white and blue this Saturday and Sunday.
Along with creating 388 symbols of community patriotism, we ask all citizens to join at the Soldotna Senior Center at 3 p.m. on Sunday to honor in person all the heroes of the Soldotna Emergency Response Team.
Paint brushes, scrubbers and paint will be provided at Soldotna City Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. We ask community members to commit at least one hour of their time during the 10 hours of this activity. It takes approximately 30 minutes to clear, scrape and paint a fire hydrant. We also are forming small teams on Thursday and Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. to scrape and clear hydrants in preparation for painting.
All activities will be coordinated from Soldotna City Hall with hydrant areas located and assigned from city hall. Requests to paint particular fire hydrants will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis during the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. time period on Saturday.
At 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, the city also will host the ribbon cutting on the new "Katherine and Charlie Parker Park" next to the Soldotna Senior Center on Park Avenue. Mrs. Parker will be present for the ribbon cutting.
Please participate with the city of Soldotna in celebrating our local emergency services heroes: the firefighters, police, utility and maintenance workers, and the EMS network. Create hundreds of symbols of patriotism and commitment within Soldotna. Visit with these heroes and help us to open a new city park.
Dave Carey, mayor of Soldotna
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