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Ripon walking to thank first responders
First responders DSC 9595
Ripon Police Chief Ed Ormonde holds a sheet metal cutout of the American Flag with its thin blue line of brotherhood between police agencies across the country. The metal flag will be on display Saturday as the police headquarters are opened to the public. It was a gift to the department from a Ripon businessman. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Police and firefighters in Ripon are the focus of the inaugural First Responders Day this coming Saturday that starts at 8 a.m. with an organized walk from the headquarters of the Ripon Consolidated Fire Department on Stockton Avenue to the Police Department on Wilma Avenue.
The first 200 residents arriving at the fire department Saturday morning will be receiving T-shirts with the First Responders logo emblazoned on the front. The T-shirts are for both adults and children. Golden challenge coins marking the day of the first annual event will be offered for a $10 donation.
The T-shirts were gifted by Van Unen Propane and the Windmill Portables Company.
Fire Chief Dennis Bitters said Monday that he will have 20 to 25 of his firefighting force on hand at the event as well as the firemen on duty driving their apparatus down Main Street.
“We’re like the police department – just doing our job – appreciating the community appreciating us.  Every week we get cards and letters from the community.  It’s very humbling when it comes from the whole community showing their appreciation,” Bitters said.  “It takes heart to be a cop or a firefighter today.”
Bitters lauded Dennis Vander Maaten, originally from Michigan, who pretty much organized his department’s chaplain service.  He also lauded Art Anderson who more often than not shows up on his own.  He has a department car and can be an engineer at a fire and help us with a lot of things, the chief said.  Anderson worked as a firefighter in another department before moving to Ripon.
In an interview with Police Chief Ormonde, he added, “I think it is a fantastic event for police and fire that will share each other’s services.  We are going to have a pretty good turnout of officers.”.
Ormonde said there will be a rolling blockage of cross streets staged by Ripon motorcycle officers who will close intersections along the course of the walk down Main Street as the event progresses.  A static display of police and fire vehicles will be seen at the police department in the 200 block of Wilma Avenue and the station is scheduled to be open for a slide show that will incorporate police and fire activities and history.
Patrol vehicles and a SWAT unit, along with two of the department’s five motorcycles,  will also be on display along with a low speed vehicle and an electric off-road unit used down around the forested river banks of the Stanislaus.
It is hoped that off-duty law enforcement and fire fighting personnel who are living in Ripon from agencies outside the community will be on hand to line Main Street as the small parade passes through the downtown. 

To contact Glenn Kahl, email