What are your plans for the weekend of 9/11? Come remember, honor, and celebrate Smyrna’s Fire and Police “Heroes” at the Smyrna Auction for Heroes Gala, Saturday, Sept. 10 at historic Brawner Hall on Atlanta Road.
As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 nears, it is a fitting time for the Smyrna community to support the firefighters and police officers who protect and serve our community every day. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate our heroes at this Gala that is sure to become one of Smyrna’s premier events each year. (Get your tickets now at www.SmyrnaHeroesGala.com, “Buy Tickets”)
These heroes are the men and women who respond when we dial 9-1-1. They’ve got our backs 24/7, 365 days a year. As Smyrna Police Officer Tim Sharples explained, “We’re the people they call when they need help, and we get paid for doing what we love.”
Firefighter Kenneth Durdun reported that his job comes “with the potential to make an impact in an emergency or make a child smile.” Heroes such as Sharples and Durdun deserve our gratitude and support, and showing that support is the mission behind the Smyrna Auction for Heroes Gala.
The Gala is a community-wide, volunteer effort by area residents and businesses to assist our heroes with a fundraiser benefiting the Smyrna Public Safety Foundation (SPSF). Supporting the SPSF at the Gala just makes sense. Why? Helping the SPSF translates to helping Smyrna’s residents, businesses, and visitors. The SPSF is a 501(c) organization that promotes and serves both the City of Smyrna’s public safety employees and the community. It is committed to providing the community and outreach services, equipment, and programs Smyrna needs to make it a safer and even more enjoyable place to live, work, play, and visit.
At this year’s Gala, mingle with Smyrna’s fire and police heroes, local businesses and residents, city officials, and Honorary Chair, Mayor A Max Bacon. Eat and enjoy delicious food from Atkins Park Tavern. Sip on wine, beer, and fun-themed specialty cocktails. Bid on live and silent auction goods and services from residents and businesses such as jewelry; lavish trips and weekend getaways; fine and decorative art; health, beauty, and fitness services; golf outings and lessons; restaurant gift cards; pet grooming and veterinary services; home décor items; accessories; celebrity, sports, film, and rock ‘n roll collectibles and memorabilia; and many other fun and exciting items.
Enjoy and dance to a live performance by one of Atlanta’s hottest groups, Kingsized, a high-energy and fun, Vegas-style dance band featuring Big Mike Grier and the Dames Aflame. Capital Cadillac is sponsoring Kingsized and Vinings Gallery the event's audio/visual contributions. Joining Kingsized is Wesley Cook, one of eight national finalists in The Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Street to Stage” competition and also recently voted one of Jezebel Magazine’s “Most Eligible Atlantans.” These performers and sponsors came on board with a commitment to help increase funds for the SPSF.
One of the programs funded by the SPSF is the popular outing that many firefighters and police officers enjoy as a highlight of the holiday season. Each year, Smyrna’s heroes take local underprivileged children to lunch and then out shopping.
“Many of these children are the nicest I’ve met,” said Smyrna Firefighter Jay Ratliff. “Their families have been hurt in the current economic climate. The Shop with a Hero program helps them have a better holiday.”
Not only do the children buy much needed items for themselves, including clothes and toiletries, but also on their own initiative frequently purchase gifts for their families. The SPSF provides cheer for what otherwise would be a bleak holiday season for these children and their families. (See www.smyrnapsf.org for more information on this and other SPSF programs.)
Smyrna’s firefighters and police officers are committed to their community. They constantly train to be prepared for the challenges they face daily. The most important thing Lt. Alan Goble (SFD) said he learns during training is the extent of his limitations. By that, he doesn’t mean learning what he couldn’t do, but rather what he could. ‘It teaches you that your limits are farther than what you think,” he explained. “You keep pushing yourself when you think you can’t go any more, and you learn you can.”
Smyrna’s heroes appreciate community support for the SPSF. As Police Officer Paul Vargas explained, “The SPSF instills confidence that the community is behind us. If the community isn’t behind you, morale drops. If the community is behind you, then you have a partnership.”
Because of the programs and services the SPSF funds, Vargas sees it as an essential link between Smyrna’s public safety employees and the community, all working together to make Smyrna a great city.
“You have to establish relationships,” Vargas continued. When speaking of challenges the City faces, Vargas spoke of “using our resources to get what’s needed” to meet those challenges. Many times the SPSF provides funding for those resources.
Knowing that what’s good for the SPSF is good for the community has led to strong backing for the Auction for Heroes Gala. At the gold-level sponsorship, notable contributors include Capital Cadillac, Charter Cable, Dave FM, and Love Street/Heart and Sole.
Silver-level contributors include Atkins Park Tavern, The Bright Side, The Cobb News, LED/Luminocity Entertainment Division, Smyrna-Vinings Patch, United Distributors, The Vinings Club, Vinings Gallery, and The Tricycle Marketing Agency.
Bronze-level sponsors: Acopia Home Loans, Adventure Outdoors, Arkle Veterinary Care, Artcraft Collision, Blessings Unlimited, Emory-Adventist Hospital/Smyrna, Firehouse Subs, Fouts Bros, Glennda Baker & Assoc. Realtors, Graphcom, the Heritage at Vinings Neighborhood Assoc., Jack’s New Yorker Deli, Kenny’s Great Pies, Legacy/Fox Creek Golf Courses, Racetrac Petroleum, Regency Fine Art, Russell Landscaping, and Smyrna Medical & Physical Therapy.
As are so many members of the community, these sponsors, too, are committed to helping make Smyrna a great city through their support of the Gala, our heroes, and the SPSF.
The volunteer Smyrna Heroes Gala Committee is chaired by Jim Carter, SPSF Marketing Director and Legacy/Fox Creek Golf Courses; rounding out the Committee are Karen Carter, Co-chair, with Regency Fine Arts; Stacy Burnsed of Tricycle Agency; Roy Acree, President of the SPSF and Smyrna Deputy Fire Chief; Denise Serkedakis of The Vinings Club; Kelly Nelson of LED; and Kevin Drawe of Atkins Park Tavern. Their tireless commitment to the event is what drives the phenomenal response the Gala has received from area residents and businesses.
So mark your calendars, buy your tickets, and join your efforts with so many others to make the Smyrna Heroes Gala on Sept. 10 a true celebration of our accomplished firefighters and police officers.