The 4th Annual Emergency Services Gala took place last night at the Owensboro Convention Center. Some of the men and women, who loyally protect the Owensboro community didn’t recognize one another out of their respective uniforms, as they were traded in for formal and cocktail attire.
What first began as an event that saw an attendance of 150, has now been moved to a larger venue to accommodate the 500 emergency service professionals and their guests.
Adam Johnston, sergeant at the Owensboro Police Department and chairman of the event, said the committee is made up of personnel from ambulance, dispatch, fire, jail, police department and sheriff’s department. Johnston, who is affectionately known by gala committee members as “Chief,” said it was a way to celebrate the brothers and sisters in emergency services to have an evening of fun away from the sirens.
The gala is the resurrection of an event known as the Policemen’s Ball that was popular in the 1990s.
Emily Johnston, Sergeant Johnston’s wife, anticipates the event all year.
“As the spouse of an emergency responder, I look forward to the gala every year,” Emily Johnston said. “It is a great event that allows them to enjoy a night with their fellow responders in a stress free environment, unlike most times they are together. Everyone seems to enjoy each other and it’s so wonderful to see all of the community sponsors and supporters that back the event. We’ve been looking forward to this great evening.”
Tim Priar, Captain of the Owensboro Fire Department, gives much credit to Johnston for making the event possible for first responders to come together for fellowship and networking.
“On this night it’s all for fun and entertainment, which is a welcome relief,” Priar said.
Dinah Chapman, paramedic and public relations coordinator for Yellow Ambulance of Owensboro/Daviess County, echoes the same sentiment.
“This is such a great night for all of us,” said Chapman. “We get to enjoy our friendships on a more relaxed scale. Most of the time we work together we are in some very serious and dangerous situations. It’s a night to just be ourselves.”
Detective Brad Youngman, of the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office, said the gala is a much-needed boost in morale for emergency services personnel.
“Being a first responder makes you a part of a special group that has its own beliefs, values and experiences,” Youngman said. “No matter what your uniform, or what your specialty is, we are all driven to help and protect others and we all have a unique experience every day when we get to work. The gala is the one night we come together and celebrate our culture and one another.”
The gala is filled with compassionate, hard-working service men and women, but it’s also filled with good food, good music and amazing door prizes, some of which include vacation getaways.
Though much of the money raised simply covers the cost of the event, but any profits raised will go to a memorial on the Daviess County Courthouse lawn to honor those that have given their lives in the line of duty in Owensboro and Daviess County.
Though the 4th Annual Emergency Services Gala is now behind them, Johnston said the work soon will begin on the fifth year. To donate or participate in the event, please contact Adam Johnston at [email protected].