Marion County Public Safety Night, an event designed to start conversations between first responders and the public, will be honoring those who serve and volunteer in their communities.

The event, facilitated by Marion County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson and Dr. Bob Leonard of KNIA/KRLS, will be held on Sept. 11 at the Marion County Courthouse in Knoxville. Food catered by Hy-Vee will be served at 5 p.m., and an awards ceremony will begin around 6 p.m.

Awards will be given for the Marion County Firefighter of the Year, the Emergency Medical Services Person of the Year, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Dispatcher of the Year and the Public Works and Engineering Person of the Year. One of the five winners will be named the 2019 Marion County Public Safety Person of the Year.

Nominations were submitted and accepted by those who currently serve in public safety. However, Anderson would like to accept nominations from the public in the future.

“In a nomination, we look for someone who goes above and beyond,” said Anderson. “It’s somebody who continually does the expected items and is always willing or always pushing the envelope, doing more than what is expected.”

While the event aims to celebrate those who serve their communities, Anderson also sees it as a way for the public to understand and hold conversations with first responders in the hopes of recruiting more volunteers. According to Anderson, Marion County has averaged four new recruits the past two years he and Leonard have been hosting the event. This is the third year for the event.

“It’s a family-friendly event that’s been received well by the community and supported well by all of the departments,” said Anderson. “I have seen people come up and say ‘thank you’ and show their appreciation to first responders. Sometimes, that’s the only thank you that some of those folks get.”

Emma Skahill can be reached at or by calling the Knoxville newsroom at 641-842-2155.

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