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In the footsteps of heroes

Hometown Heroes Walk celebrates ‘those who give’

Photo by Deb Gau Marshall honored local heroes from a variety of roles during the Hometown Heroes Walk on Wednesday evening. Walkers who took part in the event’s opening lap included members of local clergy, city and county law enforcement, firefighters, soldiers and EMTs.

MARSHALL — As patriotic music played on the loudspeakers, people gathered around a finish line marked out on one of the paths around Independence Park. As a line of walkers — several in their military or law enforcement uniforms — appeared around the curve of the path, the crowd started to clap and cheer. They kept up the applause, as some of Marshall’s “Hometown Heroes” completed the first lap of a walk in their honor.

“The reason that we’re here is to thank those who give to our community,” said Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes, as he welcomed community members to the first Hometown Heroes Walk. The event honored members of the military and veterans, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and clergy.

“We wanted to show our appreciation for everything they do in our community,” said Heather Radke, program specialist at the Marshall Adult Community Center and one of the organizers of the event. Radke said the honorees at the walk “really go above and beyond” in their service to their community, but they don’t often get recognized for the work they do.

Although they all work to provide different services to the community, Byrnes said the walk’s honorees all make Marshall a better place through their efforts. And those efforts involve working long and irregular hours, and through emergencies and difficult conditions.

“You bring a lot of calm during chaotic events,” Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson told honorees.

The walk kicked off Marshall’s Sounds of Summer events on Wednesday evening. Radke said the walk was organized through a combined effort from the Adult Community Center and the Marshall Area YMCA.

“It was a lot of fun putting it together,” said Matt Konrad, one of the event organizers from the YMCA.

Around 40 people pre-registered for the walk, Radke said.

“For the first year, we think that’s great,” she said.

The proceeds from this year’s walk will go toward a block in a veterans’ memorial planned for Memorial Park in Marshall. In the future, Radke said organizers hope to be able to contribute to community groups like the military, local law enforcement and firefighters, and ambulance service.

Some of the honorees at Wednesday’s event included officers from the Marshall Police Department and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, Marshall firefighters, members of the military, EMTs from North Memorial Ambulance, and local pastors. As they made the first lap around the park, led by a color guard from the Marshall American Legion post, community members joined in the walk.

It was a positive feeling to see the community support at the Hometown Heroes Walk, walkers said.

“It’s such a humbling experience,” said Jason Kopitski of the Marshall Police — especially being led by the color guard. “That’s an experience by itself.”

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