The 8th Annual Veteran and First Responder PIcnic was held on September 11, 2022, from noon until 3 pm at Ilion’s Marine Corp League of Herkimer County. It’s a Mohawk Valley event designed to be a commemoration of the 9/11 attacks with an opportunity to honor those veterans and 1st responders that are in the area.

Dan Enea, who came up with the idea for the event eight years ago, said it was a way to bring everybody together to honor local heroes, veterans, and first responders, in a laid-back environment.

Mayor John Stephens said, “Firefighters and police officers are tasked with assisting in people’s times of need. What these folks provide and the protection they offer has not changed in the years since that tragic day (9/11). In fact, the service that they provide has increased and become more difficult.”

“Please don’t think that we do this for any type of recognition. We do this as a service to the communities we love and to support our brothers and sisters that we work alongside,” he remarked.

“I’d like to thank all of those who have served as first responders, as well as those who continue to serve our municipalities and districts,” he said.

Stephens commented, “I would hope that someday in the near future, the people of this great country realize that they need to get back to putting our military and first responders back on that pedestal, where they rightly belong.”

Assemblyman Robert Smullen spoke at the event at stated, “I find it almost incredible to believe that it’s been 21 years since those tragic days where almost 3,000 Americans lost their lives in a cowardly, dastardly, heinous attack on a clear blue day in New York City.”

“Somebody told me once, if you like your freedom, thank a Veteran. So for all the Veterans in attendance today, thank you for your service in supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States. Thank you,” he said.