Hooray for Heroes, which celebrated its 13th year at the adjoining parking lots of Stithton Baptist Church and Walmart Supercenter in Radcliff on Saturday, serves as a way to celebrate the service of active, reserve and retired military service members, law enforcement, first responders and their families.
But for Elizabethtown resident Arville Crabtree, it was also a way to celebrate his birthday.
Crabtree, a World War II and Korean War veteran, turned 91 the same day. He said this was his first time visiting Hooray for Heroes and that it was a good way to get to know fellow veterans along with active-duty military personnel.
"I had a good time and I appreciate what they were doing for the veterans up there," he said.
Crabtree said he felt appreciated for his service when talking to attendees at the event. According to Hooray for Heroes Treasurer Rene Bell, making those honored at the event feel appreciated is the main goal of the day.
Bell said despite the downpour that occurred for a portion of the afternoon, event attendance was exceptional.
"We're just happy for the community support we get for this," she said.
Those honored through the event were provided a free lunch. Various community organizations, businesses and veteran's organizations set up booths at the event to engage attendees and children were able to play on giant slides and inflatables.
To entertain the crowd, White Mills-based country group Brian Young Band performed.
Each year a distinct group is recognized at the event. This year, first responders, including police, fire, EMS and dispatchers, were honored in a ceremony.
The ceremony included tokens of appreciation given to each first responder in the audience. The tokens were encrypted with the message "protecting and serving 24 hours a day."
The ceremony also included remarks from Brenda Tiffany, mother of Kentucky State Police trooper and Rineyville native Joseph Cameron Ponder, who was killed following a traffic stop in 2015. Tiffany acknowledged the sacrifice of first responders during her speech through discussing
her son's memory.
"I want Cameron remembered for how he lived his life," she said. "He was 31 years old and he did more in his 31 years than most people do in a lifetime."
Bell said this year's designated honorees were well-deserving of recognition. "We want to support them because they support us 365 days a year," she said.