PETERSBURG – A first responder appreciation event was held from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, at the Union Train Station on River Street in Petersburg.

The event was put on by the FLITE (Freedom Legacy Inspired Team Efforts) Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has initiatives such as the Veterans Center in Petersburg, a freedom support center. This is the second such event FLITE has held since the last one in 2017.

The FLITE Foundation executive director Tara Anderson explained that the organization began in response to a lowering of morale experienced a few years ago in Petersburg because of a salary decrease. The FLITE Foundation wanted to recognize and acknowledge the good that public safety personnel do in support of the community.

“It’s an opportunity for us to thank all of the public safety personnel, including police officers, firefighters, EMS, sheriff’s office, animal control and code and compliance,” said Anderson.

All nearby localities were invited to the event: Colonial Heights, Virginia State University police, state troopers, Prince George, Fort Lee, Dinwiddie and Chesterfield.

Anderson added that the ultimate goal of the event is to show appreciation and recognition for first responders. “We greatly appreciate everything all of the municipalities do to help Petersburg.”

Various businesses and organizations, including Dominion Energy, Boar’s Head meats, Virginia Credit Union, Red Cross, Monster Energy Drinks and Enterprise Car Rentals, had tables at the event, providing assorted helpful sundries such as pens, 9-watt light bulbs, emergency information brochures, stress-squeeze toys, do-it-yourself guides for electrical energy savings, ice-cold energy drinks, large paper clamps and financial consultation pamphlets.