The Riverbend Academy holds its annual event to show support for local area law enforcement, fire and rescue services.
Riverbend Academy’s Back the Blue event was back on track for another successful run after being canceled last October due to COVID-19.
Every year, the academy holds a school-wide event to show their support of local law enforcement and area fire and rescue teams. Participants of this year’s event were the Ormond Beach Police Department, including their crime scene van, Volusia County Bomb Squad and Beach Patrol and Flagler County Emergency Services.
Headmaster Jason Karr reiterated the event’s significance.
“Romans 13:7 says, ‘Pay honor to whom honor is due,’ and we believe our law enforcement is worthy of honor for all they do for our community,” Karr said. “Our Back the Blue event is a fun way to do just that.”
Over 350 people participated including Riverbend’s student population, ranging in age from 5 to 18-years-old. The kids were able to get first hand knowledge of the jobs our local heroes are responsible for on a regular basis.
Todd Whaley, chief pilot and director of maintenance for the Flagler County EMS, talked about the importance of sharing with the community the value of using helicopters in fighting fires.
“We try to get out and show the community what we have to offer,” Whaley said. “A lot of people see our helicopter in the news during police action but its primary purpose is to fight fires; hence, the name ‘Fireflight.’ I can rig it from air medical capability to a straight fire fighting machine in about 10 minutes. This is a mean machine when it comes to fighting fires.”
Whaley answered questions from the students then jumped in the cockpit and proceeded to demonstrate how the chopper could be utilized to douse fires with water. He flew “Fireflight” to Riverbends’ pond, dipped the 120 gallon bucket attached to the bottom of the helicopter into the water, circled back around and released the water back into the pond. Kids and teachers cheered as the team flew back to Flagler.
The kids were then told by the bomb squad team to look out onto the property along the tree line and listen for the cue, “Fire in the hole.” As soon as the team uttered those words, bombs exploded and flames burst from the ground.
Not to be outdone by the event’s performances, OBPD gathered its Team Blue, whose members donned silly socks for the occasion, to challenge the upper school’s students at a game of kickball. With game faces on, the officers battled bravely but the Riverbend students won in the last inning 3-2.
After a hard fought game, the hungry players were treated to a lunch of Chick-fil-A and a round of applause.
Officer Danielle Henderson wrapped it up nicely.
“We may have lost this year but we are up for the win next year,” she said. “Game on.”