Sears store Manager Alan Glover was on site yesterday as community members celebrated Emergency Personnel Appreciation Day. The event was held in the store parking lot at Aiken Mall.

“We try to do as much as we can to recognize these guys,” Glover said. “We're here to create awareness and even though Sears is a major corporation, the individual stores try to support their towns. So we take pride in being able to partner with the people of our community.”

Held in honor of National Fire Safety Month, the event included participation from Aiken Public Safety, the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, Aiken County EMS and the Department of Natural Resources.

“Sears puts on a National Safety Day every year, so we're here in support of that,” said Willis Bowers from the Department of Natural Resources. “Today, we brought one of our patrol boats and patrol vehicle, so we can explain to people what we do on the water and on land as well.”

In addition to learning about safety procedures, public service officials used the event as a way to increase their visibility in the community.

Former state trooper, and current Sears employee Daniel Turno alluded to children and adults becoming aware of the people who serve them.

“It's an excellent opportunity for adults and kids to put a face behind the badge and learn more about their local public safety officials,” Turno said. “The kids had fun playing on the trucks and talking to the officers, and it was great to bring more awareness to National Fire Safety Month and give out tips so people can practice better safety habits.”

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.