Safari North Wildlife Park Hosts First Ever “Hanging With Our Heroes” Event
The Safari North Wildlife Park is always a must-see in the summer with a huge selection of different animals from all over the world to check out.
However, the park was looking for more events to host, so they came up with “Hanging With Our Heroes,” an event where the community can interact with several public safety members.
“It’s a way of tying in the community and it’s just our small way of saying ‘thank you’ – that’s what we really wanted to do here, ‘thank you for your service, thank you for the volunteers,'” said owner of Safari North Wildlife Park Kevin Vogel.
“We really think it’s important for us to connect with the community as we do these events and show that we are there to help,” said Brainerd Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Rubado.
Interacting with the public safety members the most were the kids.
“We let kids go in and show them, we don’t want them to be scared of the ambulance if it ever has to show up, so we like to let them ask questions and see our faces,” said North Memorial Paramedic Karlene Lind.
“They can come in, they can jump up in the driver’s seat, just have a good time looking at all the equipment and getting a little more familiar with the fire department,” said Rubado.
Brainerd area public safety members enjoy events involving interacting with the community, as it doesn’t happen everywhere.
“You can see in a lot of other communities that they don’t have such a strong bond with their public service and community and we really do here, it’s nice to see them help us and us help them too,” said Lind.
The “Hanging With Our Heroes” day also included an honor guard flag presentation in memory and honor of U.S. veterans.
“We really like doing something like that to let the community know that we’re all in it together,” said Junior Vice Commander of the VFW 1647 Michael Williams.
The amount of people that came together is what made this event so special.
“The fire departments, the first responders, the local ambulance services, the law enforcement, they all kind of join hands and we join with them, so we all go to these different events month after month, year after year,” said American Legion Colorguard Drill Sargent Paul Gode.
“We had a fantastic showing today, more than what we could have expected and hoped for, and just great when the community gets behind an event like this and just takes it to the next level,” said Vogel.
All proceeds to this year’s event were donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, and after the successful 2019 event, Safari North Wildlife Park is already making plans for a bigger and better event in 2020.