As helicopters for Rico Aviation air ambulance and Lifestar medical transport made their way to Boys Ranch, Texas, young people gathered to watch as they landed on a central sports field for our second annual First Responders Day.
Nearly 30 emergency response vehicles and personnel joined our community for this special event. Boys and girls swarmed around the visitors, curiosity in high gear.
How fast can you fly? How many people can be on your helicopter?
“Helicopters are made for trauma victims, we carry blood and lots of medicine on board,” said Meagan, one of the nurses with Rico Aviation. “We get them to the hospital in significantly less time.”
“Time is cut down by at least an hour when we go directly from the scene to the hospital,” added her Rico colleague, Scott. “This makes a patient’s outcome that much better.”
Throughout the day, the curiosity continued from visitor to visitor.
“Two years ago, we were looking for ideas of things for the children here to see and do,” explained Luke Benton who oversees the outdoor adventure program. “We wanted the kids to meet and greet their local heroes. We talked to supporting agencies and they were excited about it. And, last year was so good we decided to do it again.”
With nearly twice as many first responder this year, Boys Ranch youth got up-close looks at helicopters, ambulances, law enforcement cruisers, national guard and area fire fighting units.
Lively conversation took place between the emergency personnel and our boys and girls with many games and contests for our young people to participate in. Youth enjoyed taking turns trying to be the fastest to get on full firefighting gear or climb into vehicles to honk horns, imagining themselves as a police officer or national guardsman — some even enjoyed a ride!
“For our youth, this event is a great opportunity for them to ask questions of the first responders, the questions they’ve always wondered about,” said Troy Williams, Boys Ranch fire chief. “And, they get to see what equipment does and how it operates. It gives first responders a chance to get out with the public and explain some of the things they do. Plus, it gives the public an opportunity to say thank you.”
In addition to area responders, Boys Ranch Fire Department and ambulance services were also part of the memorable events. In addition to providing protection for our community, Boys Ranch responds to emergencies within Oldham County, such as fires and vehicular accidents.
Williams explains that as part of the Experiential Learning Program on the ranch, a small group of the young people are mentored by BRFD, serving as a junior fire crew and learning skills they could one day use in a future career.
As part of the First Responders Day, the Boys Ranch junior fire crew staged a community water polo competition. Using a fire hose, teams of three battled to be the first to move a weighted target down a wire. Competitors were grateful for the cold soaking on what became a very hot day.
Following last year’s closing ceremony, our community gathered on Boys Ranch Main Street for a parade of lights. With sirens sounding and horns honking, boys and girls lined the street waving flags and cheering with their care takers to honor the Panhandle’s everyday heroes as they left our thankful campus.