The Independence Chamber of Commerce is asking for donations to fund a Hero's Dinner for community safety personnel. "[We're] asking everyone in the community to help support this night as a token of our appreciation for all that our public service workers do to protect and serve the citizens of Independence," said the Chamber.

The dinner is in place for Tuesday, June 18, and monetary donations are needed as there is no budgeted funding for an event such as this, and there are currently approximately 60 employees dispersed throughout the Independence Police Department, the Dispatch and Fire/EMS services who would be celebrated.

"It is our desire to show our employees and their spouses that they do provide a vital service to our community and for that, we are eternally grateful for their sacrifice and the toll it takes on their personal life each and every day to serve our community," said Police Chief Jerry Harrison, Fire-EMS Chief Shawn Wallis, Safety Director David Cowan and City Manager Craig Whitehead in a collaborative statement when asked by IDR. 

"In 2018, 144 police officers, 60 firefighters, and 36 EMS and air medical professionals lost their lives in the line of duty or duty related services. These individuals sacrifice a third of their life each year to service of their local communities and are subject to the dangers of their jobs and tremendous stress that goes with this type of service. Tragically, lives are lost each year just due to the stress of the job."

The funds generated for the event will go toward catering, awards and prizes. Along with honoring emergency personnel, several awards will be awarded to citizens in honor of their support of the community's Emergency Services, including the Humanitarian Award, the Community Service Hero Award and the Community Partner Hero Award. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt will be the evening's keynote speaker.

Donations in the form of a check can be made payable to the Independence Chamber of Commerce with "Hero's Dinner" written in the memo. Please send donations to 616 N. Penn Ave. Deadline for donations is Wednesday, June 12.