Dottie Moses and Ann Helmers with the Island of Key Largo Federation of Homeowner Associations delivered treats and community-made thank you cards to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Plantation Key. CONTRIBUTED

The Upper Keys community came together Jan. 9-14 to celebrate first responders.

Last December, Monroe County Mayor Holly Merrill Raschein presented a proclamation at the Monroe Board of County Commissioners meeting to recognize the upcoming event. Sue Woltanski, Monroe County School Board chair, organized a thank-you card campaign from local students. James “Doc” Boilini donated Doc’s Diner for a cookie-baking session to ensure every first responder got a sweet treat. The Monroe County Parks and Beaches contributed a special banner displayed at Friendship Park. 

Key Largo branch library sponsored story time with special guests. One visit featured the EMS team from Key Largo Fire Rescue, who read stories, let the kids tour their fire truck and even did the hokey pokey with their small fans. A second story time hosted Monroe County sheriff’s deputies as visiting heroes. Key Largo branch library also installed story walk paths at Key Largo Community Park, Plantation Key School and Key Largo School. Islamorada branch library children took a field trip to the fire station and sang songs to their local heroes. 

Young tykes check out a Key Largo Fire Rescue truck. CONTRIBUTED

Other community organizations supporting the week of appreciation were the Key Largo Sunset Rotary, Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, Island of Key Largo Federation of Homeowners Associations, MarineLab, Upper Keys League of Women Voters and Blue Horizon, a community support group.

From the Ocean Reef public safety department to the emergency dispatch team in Marathon, it was a week of letting Keys first responders know just how much their service and dedication means.
More information is available from Karen Beal at PriusChallenge@gmail.com.