Airlift Northwest lands at Fort Discovery at Security Services Northwest’s Unity of Effort celebration in 2012. This year’s celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. (Fort Discovery)

Airlift Northwest lands at Fort Discovery at Security Services Northwest’s Unity of Effort celebration in 2012. This year’s celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. (Fort Discovery)

Annual Unity of Effort event in Gardiner recognizes military, first responders

The annual summer picnic and patriotic celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Fort Discovery.

GARDINER — Olympic Peninsula residents and visitors are invited to celebrate members of the military, law enforcement and emergency responders Saturday during the annual Unity of Effort at Fort Discovery.

The annual summer picnic and patriotic celebration, hosted by Security Services Northwest, will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Fort Discovery, 3501 Old Gardiner Road.

The celebration, which has been held at Fort Discovery for about the past 20 years, is dedicated to “those who protect our way of life,” said Joe D’Amico, owner of Security Services Northwest.

“We’re here to support local, state and federal organizations — and private organizations — who all help in protecting our community and nation. It is a great opportunity to meet and thank the first responders for everything they do for us.”

Entry is by the suggested donation of $20 per person, D’Amico said.

There is no charge for current full-time military, law enforcement and firefighter personnel to attend, and children 17 and younger are admitted free.

Proceeds will go to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which supports the education of children of wounded and fallen special operations forces, according to a news release.

Proceeds also offset the cost of the celebration, D’Amico said.

“We ask for donations because we do provide food,” he said. “It is optional.”

Personnel and equipment from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies will be at the celebration, including the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, State Patrol, Washington State Parks and U.S. Border Patrol; Port Angeles, Forks, Port Townsend and S’Klallam police departments; and Jefferson, Clallam, King and Kitsap County sheriff’s offices.

Other guests include Airlift Northwest, Jefferson County Fire District No. 5 in Gardiner, Clallam County Fire District No. 3 in Sequim and Marine Corps League Mount Olympus Detachment No. 897, which will display vintage war vehicles.

Highlights will be tours of helicopters and other first responder equipment.

A U.S. Army Special Operations Command helicopter arrival is set for 10:30 a.m., with an F/A-18 fly-by by the U.S. Navy at 1 p.m. in conjunction with the singing of the national anthem by a solo vocalist with Navy Band Northwest.

K-9 police dog demonstrations by the Port Angeles Police Department and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office will be conducted throughout the day.

Live music will be provided by the Stardust Big Band and ‘80s rock band HAIRSTORM.

Children can partake in several activities at the family-friendly event, such as the jumphouse, arts and crafts, and the straw toy find.

Recruiters from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines will be at the event to provide information to anyone who is interested in military service, D’Amico said.

Because parking at Fort Discovery is limited, guests are encouraged to use a free shuttle provided by 7 Cedars Casino, 270756 U.S. Highway 101 in Blyn. The casino is about 12 minutes east of Fort Discovery.

The shuttle departs from the casino’s upper parking lot and leaves hourly from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Return shuttles from Fort Discovery are every hour from noon to 6 p.m.

RSVPs are requested but are not required. To reserve a spot or for more information, contact Jennifer Scott at 877-876-4750 or email jen@ssnwhq.com.

Fort Discovery is a training facility near Sequim. It is located on 3,500 acres of private timberland, which runs along the western shoreline of Discovery Bay.

For more, visit www.fortdiscoveryusa.com.

________

Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at cmcdaniel@peninsuladailynews.com.

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