JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.-- --
During a candle-light vigil in 2009 for slain Washington
State police officers, Seattle Police Department Detective Carrie McNally was
inspired to do something to bring the first responder community together in a
This idea turned into the “Stand with Those Who Serve,” annual
public safety appreciation event which conducted on Joint Base Lewis McChord,
Washington July 23, this year for the second consecutive year.
“Our families don’t
always know why we serve or the reasons that we do our job and they are
scared,” said McNally. “This is an opportunity to bring our families out and
come together to show them this is the safety equipment we have, these are the
people that have my back and I have theirs.”
Many Washington State and Federal agencies were on hand to
educate and possibly recruit servicemembers transitioning out of the
military. Agencies like the Department of
Fish and Wildlife, the FBI, Department of Corrections and many others were available.
representatives at the event to showcase their capabilities and answer
questions, said McNally. “Not only for the benefit of their own community, but
for potential new additions. All [of them] seeking men and woman to join them
and they all believe the military is a great source of dedicated leaders that
would make great additions to any agency.”
The mission of SWTWS
is simple: honor the first responder community and give back to those who
“We expect nothing, we always support community events, but
we seldom do anything for our own community and our own family, this that
opportunity [to do so],” said McNally.
Although they all belong to the same community, some
agencies don’t always interact with each other on a regular basis.
Opening lines of communication and creating relationships
was one of the biggest benefits of the event, according to McNally.
“The interaction between the agencies we work with and
seeing each other’s capabilities allows opportunities for collaboration, [which]
is really critical to all our success,” said McNally. “There’s a lot of
organizations that support first responders and it’s important that we allow those
interactions before something critical happens. All these organizations support
the first responder community when something bad happens and this is a great opportunity
for them to get to know each other under positive circumstances so if something
bad happens they fell comfortable calling them and access those resources.”
The importance and impact of first responders and the work
they do is something State leadership holds in high regard, showing so by declaring
the week of July 23-July 30 as “Stand With Those Who Serve week.”
The proclamation signed by Washington State Governor Jay
Inslee states: “The duties, responsibilities, hazards and sacrifices facing the
public safety community on a daily basis earn them the respect, admiration and
gratitude of those they serve and protect. Washington’s public safety personnel
from city, county, state, federal and military agencies are critical to keeping
our communities safe.”
Having a good relationship with the local community and
first responder agencies is a priority to the base and its own emergency
"We have military members who live and work in the
community and if anything happens the local first responders have lines of
communications with the base." said Charles Thornton, JBLM Department of
Emergency Services joint operations officer. "This has been an amazing
event. Having the event here on JBLM gives the first responder community a
secure location and gives military members access to potential future employers."
In its sixth year the SWTWS annual public safety
appreciation event shows no sign of losing support or momentum.
“There is a lot of energy and work that goes into it, but I
always know why we do this, so it’s worth the work and effort,” said McNally.