Valley's 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony to honor first responders

Keynote speaker is Bay Area Disaster Medical Assistance Team commander

In honor of the first responders and victims of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Exchange Club of the San Ramon Valley is once again hosting its 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony, this week at the All Wars Memorial in Danville.

While the event has always honored 9/11 first responders as well as veterans and active military members, this year organizers plan to highlight the service of the men and women who fought the devastating Napa County fires as well.

Attendees will hear a speech by keynote speaker Andy Swartzell, acting commander of the Bay Area Disaster Medical Assistance Team, who in 2001 served several weeks in the New York World Trade Center recovery mission.

Swartzell is a 20-year of Cal Star Emergency Transport flight nurse who for 25 years has volunteered with medical response teams responding to disasters, natural and otherwise, across the country. As a part of the Bay Area Disaster Medical Assistance Team, he trains response teams for man-made disasters-including chemical, biological, radiation and explosions.

The ceremony will host over 100 Boy and Girl Scouts, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Honor Guard and bagpipers, as well as musical performances by the Monte Vista High School choir. Free ice cream will be offered to attendees.

The annual essay competition for students in fifth through 12th grades returns to the ceremony, with this year's theme as: “How has training for first responders changed since 9-11-2001?”

This year’s sponsors include the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, Engeo, PG&E, AT&T, Graham Hitch Memorials, Danville Car Team, Alamo Safeway and the town of Danville.

The 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at the All Wars Memorial at Oak Hill Park, 3005 Stone Valley Road in Danville. Admission is free, and all are welcome to attend.

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Nominations due by Sept. 16 and Pleasanton Weekly are once again putting out a call for nominations and sponsorships for the annual Tri-Valley Heroes awards - our salute to the community members dedicated to bettering the Tri-Valley and the lives of its residents.

Nomination form