Kevin Miller, Port Angeles Police Department officer, offers a K-9 demonstration as Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office deputy Aaron Baker. and Port Angeles police officer Whitney Fairbanks look on. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Kevin Miller, Port Angeles Police Department officer, offers a K-9 demonstration as Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office deputy Aaron Baker. and Port Angeles police officer Whitney Fairbanks look on. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Community celebrates first responders at Unity of Effort event

SEQUIM — Sunny skies, helpings of fresh salmon and numerous exhibits, vehicles and personnel from across the region greeted visitors at the 2022 Unity of Effort, held at Security Services Northwest, Inc.’s property near downtown Sequim.

The annual event, which includes youth activities and family fun, is held to honor and support military, first responders, law enforcement and security personnel.

“It was great; everybody enjoyed themselves,” said Joe D’Amico, Security Services Northwest president and event host. “We got a lot of people out [who were] very happy to come out meet first responders and thank them. A lot of times they’re just underappreciated.”

Representatives from law enforcement (Sequim and Port Angeles police departments, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation), as well as several military branches and entities such as Clallam County Fire District 3, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Fish & Wildlife were on hand to talk with and interact with attendees.

Visitors also got up-close looks at five helicopters, including one from the Department of Natural Resources that normally isn’t available, D’Amico said, because staff are out fighting fires all summer.

“I joked, ‘It’s safest place to be on Aug. 6,’” he said.

Two of the helicopters and staff — from Airlift Northwest and U.S. Navy — had to leave the event after receiving emergency calls, he said.

D’Amico said the turnout from first responders was strong, particularly considering they, like businesses and nonprofits, are dealing with staffing shortages.

The event also saw live music from three bands: Sequim’s Buck Ellard, Seattl’e Hairspray, and the Scooter Brown band from Tennessee.

“It was a good event … [and] as always, we’re already planning for next year,” D’Amico said.

Joining the event this year was the Sequim Noon Rotary, which held its 53rd annual Salmon Bake on the property.

“It was very nice of Security Services to invite us to join them,” Rotary’s Rochelle McHugh said.

The club didn’t sell as much salmon as in previous events, but McHugh noted, “I think we are pleased with the fact that it was a brand new venue, coming out of COVID, [that we were as] busy as we were.”

McHugh said the club would likely bring back the bake to the Unity of Effort event in the future.

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