Each year, the City of La Vista seeks a person or group to honor during the annual La Vista Daze festival and parade. These honorees range from volunteers, public servants and local heroes. But this year, why not all three at once?
The City of La Vista will honor former members of the La Vista Volunteer Fire Department during La Vista Daze, from being a collective grand marshal for the parade, to giving each and every resident a chance to send a personal thank you.
“During our time planning La Vista Daze, employees and committees expressed a desire to honor the volunteers who served our community,” Community Relations Coordinator Mitch Beaumont said. “This is the festival to do it.”
Honoring the past firefighters begins on May 23, during the 6 p.m. community cookout. Beaumont said as a part of the usual touch-a-truck program, the city will have four antique fire trucks on display from nearby fire departments, as well as one of La Vista’s own trucks.
This truck will standout, however, by the giant thank you card on the side, where residents can give personal notes of gratitude for the volunteers’ service.
“Basically, we’re saying thank you,” he said.
This card will be given to the La Vista Firefighters’ Association, which will ensure past firefighters a chance to read the thank yous.
The appreciation will then continue into Saturday as well.
Looking through the city’s records, as well as checking and rechecking said records, Beaumont said the city has sent invitations to each of the more than 350 members in the volunteer department’s 51 years.
“We’ve sent a letter to as many of the list as we could find, inviting them to join us,” he said.
Any former firefighter who can attend will be part of the collective grand marshal for the May 24 parade. Additional banners on the parade stand will also honor the past volunteers, he said.
Lastly, Beaumont said the city is constructing a temporary memorial wall containing as full of a list as it could find of fire department volunteers, including retired and honorary members.
“Anyone who’s ever served, on our record, will be on that wall,” he said.
This wall will be on display at the entrance to Central Park for all La Vista Daze guests to see, and while the City does not have set plans on how to use the wall after the festival, Beaumont said the overall goal of this year’s festival is to create a tradition of remembering the men and women who gave of themselves to help La Vista and its residents.
“We want to, over time, make sure their service is not forgotten,” he said. “We don’t want our community to forget the service they gave.”