Region Ahead thanks first responders | Health care
The AHEAD region will show its gratitude to first responders for their work during the COVID pandemic by offering them gift cards to local restaurants.
“We know that first responders, such as law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical services, are putting themselves at risk by serving those in need during the pandemic,” said Andy Dietrich, the organizer of the AHEAD region. “We have raised over $ 55,000 in donations to provide free meals and car washes for our health heroes. We also organized special gatherings outside hospitals to thank them. We want to follow up on this by honoring first responders with gift cards for a free meal at local restaurants. “
Dietrich said the organization has raised an additional $ 22,500 to support first responders.
The gift cards will be made available to first responders in Carter, Sullivan, Greene and Washington counties and Bristol, Va., Over the next few days, Dietrich said.
A total of 2,054 are expected to receive a meal gift card.
Dietrich thanked United Way of the East TN Highlands, United Way Bristol TN / VA, United Way of Greater Kingsport, Greene County United Way, NETWORKS, NETREP, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce of Johnson City, Creative Energy, and ARO Creative Inc. for helping make fundraisers successful.
“It’s just another great example of how when we work together everyone wins,” he said.
“Our first responder effort will also support local restaurants that may still be struggling due to the pandemic,” noted Beth Rhinehart, President and CEO of the Bristol Chamber.
“While our donations are sufficient to provide free meals to first responders in some counties in northeastern Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia, we would like to thank all of the first responders in our area,” said Miles Burdine, president and Chief Executive Officer of the Kingsport Chamber. “With COVID cases on the rise again in the region, it is evident that we need our healthcare workers and first responders even more in the coming days to deal with current and future COVID cases here. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, do so. If you have been vaccinated, get vaccinated to reduce demand from first responders and healthcare workers in our area.
“First responders play such an important role in the safety of our lives, and their sacrifices over the past 22 months should never be forgotten,” said Bob Cantler, president of the Johnson City / Washington County / Chamber of Commerce Jonesborough.
The $ 22,500 donation for first responders was made possible by BrightRidge and Ballad Health.
The Region AHEAD alliance was formed in early 2020 to address significant issues affecting the region of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.