By Paul BelloMay 21, 2009
FORT BELVOIR, Va. - Residents from around Belvoir turned out in support of Safety Day May 14 at Specker Field House - a day set aside to acknowledge the various organizations and individuals that make safety their number one priority.
As residents mingled with a line of vendors outside in the parking lot, during the morning's kick-off, Installation Commander Col. Jerry Blixt took the microphone and reminded everyone that safety is something practiced year-round.
He then recognized more than 20 employees and volunteers with a round of safety awards - an acknowledgement in response to their hard work and dedication over the past year.
"Everyday is safety day and it's something we take quite seriously here at Fort Belvoir," Blixt said. "Today is just an opportunity for us to pause and put emphasis on that. I thank everyone for their contributions. It's greatly appreciated."
Among those on hand to answer questions and hand out information were members of the installation's DeWitt Healthcare Network and the American Red Cross. Staff Sgt. Alan Schardt, a member of Fort Belvoir's 212th Military Police Detachment, was there with his K-9 partner, Archie.
"I've been working with K-9 units since 2007 and it's a blast. I enjoy it a lot," Schardt said. "We get calls to do a lot of demonstrations showing how we work with the dogs. We just participated in Doggie Days and that went really well. Being able to meet people and introduce ourselves helps us in our line of work, as well."
Brianne Monroe, a vendor representative with Irwin Tools, was attending her first Safety Day event. According to her, the day was a good opportunity to network with other organizations.
"Several people came to our table looking to get information on some of our safety items, so the response has definitely been good," Monroe said. "We've worked with organizations in Fairfax County before and we certainly want to continue in that direction. More exposure never hurts."
Fire Marshall John Weaver fielded questions about child safety. He even included some tips on household safety, such as unclogging dryer vents and making sure smoke detectors are in working order.
"We try to alert people to different things happening in the home. That way they're better prepared," Weaver said. "A clogged dryer vent could cause a fire. It's not something you immediately think of, but it's something to be aware of. Overall, it's good to see people asking questions and wanting to learn more about child or home safety."