‘First Responders’ honored by Gateway-area businesspeople

See why these merchants are carrying on a tradition of recognizing the men and women who are willing to risk their lives every day, in the service of our community …

Members of the Portland Police Bureau and Portland Fire & Rescue serve themselves lunch at the 2012 Gateway Area Business Association’s First Responder Tribute.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As has been their tradition for many years, the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) hosted a “First Responder Tribute” as the theme of their September 13 meeting at Adventist Medical Center (AMC).

The large meeting room at AMC was set up like a banquet hall, complete with linen table cloths. Piano music wafted through the room as guests helped themselves to the unusual luncheon offering.

Setting a festive tone for the event, pianist Laura Flint plays before the meeting begins.

GABA President Fred Sanchez welcomes members and guests to their monthly meeting.

“We owe it to these people, who work so hard to keep a safe,” said GABA President Fred Sanchez, of Realty Brokers, to East Portland News, as the meeting was getting underway in outer East Portland.

“I’m told that GABA is the only business association that does this kind of tribute,” noted Sanchez. “We want to let the community know that we are grateful for their work, and we appreciate what they do for us every day.”

Listening to the presentations are these representatives of the Portland Police Bureau.

Sanchez read a poem that commemorated the valor and honor of the men and women in law enforcement, the Fire Bureau, and the paramedical services.

“Now, let’s have a moment of silence as we remember our first responders, who have given their lives to keep us safe,” intoned Sanchez.

Sam Vigil Jr., with Adventist Medical Center, leads a group sing of “God Bless America”.

Next, accompanying herself at the piano, Laura Flint sang “America the Beautiful”, and then was joined by AMC’s Sam Vigil Jr., who led the group in singing “God Bless America”.

Called up by their organization, groups of first responders were invited forward to receive certificates of appreciation and a plaque, presented by ABC Sustainable Solutions’ president, and GABA board member, Colleen Gifford, as well as by Fred Sanchez and Adventist Medical Center’s John Korb.

Each plaque was inscribed:

In grateful appreciation to our First Responders, Gateway Area Business Association pays tribute to you on this 13th day of September, 2012.

Representatives of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office receive their plaque.

This group, representing the members of the Portland Police Bureau, is honored.

These representatives, some from Hazelwood’s Portland Fire & Rescue Station 30, accept the tribute.

Men and women from American Medical Response are also honored at the luncheon.

Turning to the “good of the order”, Sanchez reminded audience members that GABA is the oldest business district association in Portland, and is proud to continue serving the area.

Fred Sanchez presents Certificates of Appreciation to GABA board members Colleen Gifford and John Korb.

As GABA “Keystone Kop” Alan Sanchez announces that the next Gateway Fun-O-Rama has been scheduled, with the date set for May 19, 2013 – board members unfurl the banner that will fly over NE Halsey Street to promote the event.

Meet the candidates on October 11
At the next GABA meeting, they’re hosting a “Candidate Fair”, presenting Portland City Council candidates Amanda Fritz and Mary Nolan; Oregon House District 47 candidates Maggie Nelson (R) and Jessica Vega Pederson (D); and Portland mayoral candidates Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith.

Networking starts at 11:30 AM. Meeting starts at 11:45 and ends promptly at 1:00 p.m.

You’ll find them at Russellville Park West Building, in the Theater – 23 SE 103rd, Portland. Lunch: $8. Directions: From SE 102nd Avenue, turn east on SE Ankeny Street towards SE 103rd, turn left into underground parking, take elevator up to “Theater”. For more information, see their ALL NEW website: CLICK HERE.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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