Ask Michael Crowley— the Community Field Coordinator at the Richard J. Murphy Elementary School in Neponset— about this Friday’s second annual First Responder’s Appreciation Day and he’ll be happy to tell you all about it.
First, though, he’ll have to get a playground packed with rambunctious grammar school kids to simmer down for a minute or two.
“I have 125 kids that I need to get quiet. Want to know how I do that?” Crowley asked the Reporter. Then, he boomed over the quiet roar of the students: “Show me if you want to go to recess or not!”
The cacophony of voices quickly fell silent.
“Mention the risk of losing recess, and they’ll do anything,” laughs Crowley, who then explains the concept of this Friday’s celebration, which will include blocking off Worrell Street from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to welcome a wide array of first responders— including firefighters, police officers, and EMTs. The students— in grades K-5 will have the opportunity to meet, greet, and learn what these men and women do daily to keep the city safe.
“Kids are always afraid of the police or firemen when they show up because they don’t understand the procedures and become very fearful of them,” said Crowley. “We are showing them the human behind the badge. This day is an opportunity to explain to the kids not to run away from police officers, why a firefighter might kick in their door, or why people get taken away in an ambulance.”
In addition to meeting the first responders, the children will also have the opportunity to tour fire trucks and police cars, discover the apparatus used by EMTs and participate in the fingerprinting process with police officers. The Murphy School started First Responders Appreciation Day because many of the children that attend Murphy School have family that work as first responders, said Crowley. It is also a way for the kids to introduce their family members to their friends and other members of the faculty and staff.
The students show their appreciation and gratitude by making posters, writing thank you letters, dressing up as first responder superheroes with BPD badges or other firefighter emblems, and finally, saying hello and thank you over the loudspeaker at school.