When the unthinkable happens, it's our first responders that can often make the difference in life or death. Knowing this, Bay County leaders joined together on Friday to show how much these men and women are appreciated.
Representatives from all Bay County municipalities and stations were in attendance, including Panama City Police Chief, Scott Ervin and Panama City Fire Chief, Wayne Watts. They each had a special part to play in Friday's ceremonies.
Special guest, retired Tallahassee Fire Chief Cindy Dick, offered brief but poignant words about the importance of the job of a first responder, and it's a sentiment shared by both Ervin and Watts on a day that means so much to them.
"The most important thing that we teach them, no matter their discipline, is your job is to protect life and property in that order," said Watts.
"Everyday we go out and we know what we do. We do it because that's our calling. It's our passion to go out and protect this community. It really means a lot, not just to me, but to the other first responders when we have the support from the community," added Ervin.
Also announced Friday, Panama City firefighter Billy Mixon was the winner of the "Lasik for Local Heroes" contest put on by the Eye Center of North Florida and Gulf Coast Medical Center.