Blue skies and mild temperatures made the perfect day for a ceremony to honor local heroes.
Members from six Moniteau County 4-H clubs -- Twin City 4-H, Busy Bee 4-H, Eager Eagles 4-H, Shamrock 4-H, Show-Me 4-H, Tipton 4-H -- helped host the second annual 4-H Day of Service ceremony Sunday at the Latham Memorial Park in California. The ceremony, titled "Honoring Our Local Heroes," attracted more than 200 people to honor local healthcare workers, first responders and current and past members of the military.
Unlike last year's celebration, which centered around the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, this year's ceremony more specifically centered around local responders and how they serve the community.
"We wanted to get one (representative) from each specific field," said Emma Russell, a Twin City 4-H member who helped organize the event. "We went around the community and asked different people if they would, and we were very, very blessed that we have such a great community that is always willing to speak and help us out."
State Rep. Willard Haley, R-Eldon, was on site to speak, along with local representatives of each field being honored.
After the Sounds of Joy choir from California High School performed the National Anthem, Abigail Aguilar, a nurse practitioner at the Community Health Center, spoke about her job in healthcare and how the 9/11 attacks helped steer her toward a career serving others.
Missouri Highway Patrol Maj. Michael Turner, of California, said the Highway Patrol badge represents more than a career -- it represents a dedication to serving those around you.
Jeremy Ämick, a veteran and author, spoke about the sacrifices our veterans and military members make on a daily basis. He honored Vietnam and Persian Gulf war veterans in his speech.
After honoring veterans, law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical service and healthcare workers in attendance, the ceremony closed with a prayer by Pastor Alan Bailey of First Christian Church.
Elaine Anderson, a youth specialist for 4-H, said more than 200 people attended the event again this year.
"Last year we had over 200 people come, and this year we had over 200 people again, so I think it was well received by the community," Anderson said. "We have great community support and (Latham Memorial Park) is a wonderful place to be able to hold it at."
While Anderson said the topic is for the 4-H members to decide, Russell said she can see this becoming a new annual tradition.
"Last year was kind of our first year doing this, but I really do think that we'll put this on every year because obviously we have a great turnout and I think the community really enjoys it, and I know we do too," Russell said. "... We are blessed to live in a very great community who's always so supportive of us and what we do in our youth."