Citizen Potawatomi Nation honored first responders with its inaugural First Responders Appreciation Day.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22, all first responders were invited to the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort, where tents were set up in the parking lot with food, games and prizes.

Security Training Officer Tommy Bowen said each of the responders who attended went home with about two prizes each — either from drawings or playing games such as football toss and basketball.

Joe Henry with the Shawnee (Oklahoma) Fire Department, was among the responders who came out to enjoy the event, and he thanked the tribe and said it was “awesome.”

In one tent, eight new “Big Red” CPR training manikins were on display, and first responders watched demonstrations and practiced on them. The manikins have LED lighting that displays under the skin, showing how much blood has been moved with each compression.

“With a good compression, the light will go to the head. With a compression not deep enough, the light will only go halfway up or less,” Bowen said. “That way the student will get a good idea how hard/deep to push when doing CPR.”

Those who attended were also given commemorative coins honoring first responders.

“All of us here at the Grand Casino just wanted to let our first responders know how much we appreciate them. They always show up and help when we need them. They’re awesome people,” Bowen said.

The event only saw about 50 to 75 attendees this year, but Bowen hopes for a better turnout at next year’s event as word gets out.