WBSD salutes service heroes

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published October 2, 2013

 West Bloomfield High School dance team member Ren Veasy shows her Laker Pride while performing at the third annual Family Fun Night.

West Bloomfield High School dance team member Ren Veasy shows her Laker Pride while performing at the third annual Family Fun Night.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — “Show the Laker Pride,” a group of West Bloomfield cheerleaders shouted while celebrating the district’s Family Fun Night Friday, Sept. 20.

Because of the rain and cold, the event honoring the U.S. military, police and fire heroes was relocated indoors, and residents of West Bloomfield packed the hallways and gym, showing their support.

“The turnout’s been great. Of course the water’s dampened the outside part, but the school’s done a really great job pulling us all inside,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Regina of the U.S. Air Force. 

The U.S. Air Force, which has a recruiting center in Macomb, was one of the branches of military actively recruiting at the event. Others included the National Guard, the Army and the Marines.

Regina explained that one of the interesting things they educate students about is that less than 4 percent of the Air Force actually flies.

“There are over 140 different jobs, and events like this help us to give the information out,” he said.

Family Fun Night, which was a free event, emphasized the strengths of West Bloomfield Township while displaying appreciation for community servicemen and women, organizers said.

“The true purpose for the event today, from my perspective, is to bring community together and show appreciation to all the service providers — law enforcement, fire protection, ambulance and all the first-responders,” said West Bloomfield School District Superintendent Gerald Hill.

“The event is a way for us as a school district to honor the community servants, also to accentuate our partnerships and working relationship that we have with all of the police, fire and emergency responders,” he continued.

The school district began hosting the Family Fun Night in 2011, bringing in people of all ages. Some of the free activities included a dunk tank manned with teachers, bounce houses, military and service vehicles on display, spray tattoos, and complementary doughnuts and cider.

The Marines hosted pull-up contests for the students at their recruitment table, awarding hats, shirts, lanyards and water bottles.

In addition to saluting the military, police and fire heroes, Hill explained that the evening’s activities present the agencies to the children, providing insight into the life of service.

“The way the public looked at the service department, especially the military, wasn’t always as nice as it should have been for the role that we do sometimes. It gives back a lot to us and shows that the community cares about us no matter what,” Regina said.

Prior to the football game against Rochester, the school district held a tribute ceremony, raising a flag during the national anthem to honor those who put their lives on the line. The district also paid a special tribute to the parents of fallen West Bloomfield Township officer Sgt. Patrick O’Rourke, who was killed in the line of duty September 2012.

“It’s really a great honor when the local community at any point in time acknowledges their local police and fire services,” said West Bloomfield Township Police Chief Michael Patton. “We enjoy strong support here in West Bloomfield. It’s really a great community to be in service to.”

Both the Police Department and the O’Rourke family were presented with a special No. 55 West Bloomfield High School football helmet, recognizing O’Rourke’s badge number.

“It’s a very nice event and well attended. It’s designed to be a family-fun night, and that’s what it is for everybody,” Patton said.

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