Bouncy castles, football toss, roaming mascots, food, displays and more were all part of a First Responders Appreciation Day on Apr. 14. It made for a relaxing few hours of mingling for the families of those who keep us safe.

Organized by the Cochrane EMS Emergency Action Group (CAG), chair Brian Winter believes it was well received. He says over 100 people attended, representing, police, bylaw, EMS and fire.

"We appreciate them all during the year, but this is one day we can just say thanks," says Winter. "Thanks for being out there and protecting us."

He says they held a smaller event exclusively for EMS families last year and invited all first responders this time around.

Blake Richards, local MP and Veterans Affairs shadow minister, was in attendance, as well as some members of town council.

"You know, CAG putting this on, giving people an opportunity to say thank you to our first responders, means the world," says Richards. "I think it's token of appreciation for people who put their lives on the line for us."

Josh Nash, STARS ambulance provincial director of operations, was impressed with what had been organized.

"Events like this brings not just the first responders together but all their families as well, and brings the community together," says Nash.

James Hughes, of CIR Realty, was quick to contribute when he heard about the event. He was a correctional officer for several years before entering the real estate field and appreciates the support received from first responders.

"I want to give just back anyway I can, so I'm a sponsor this year, and for years to come."

Winter says the committee intends to continue to hold the annual event, because you can never give enough thanks for what our first responders do.

CAGCAG joins with James Hughes and his family, centre, who was one of the sponsors of the event.