Students honor public safety workers through rescue bags

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Mound Westonka studnets pose with members of the Orono Police Department after delivering rescue bags to thank them for their service. (Submitted photo)

By LORRIE HAM
FOR THE PIONEER

Members of the Mound Westonka High School Student Senate and DECA program traveled around the Westonka area Jan. 26 to deliver “rescue bags” packed with snacks and water to law enforcement, public safety and emergency services personnel. Notes attached to each bag read, “We know how hard you work, how many hours you put in and the time you sacrifice for our safety. This is our ‘thank you’ for everything you do for the Westonka community. From the students at MWHS.”

Police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel, city staffers and public works employees in Orono, Minnetrista, Mound, Ridgeview Medical and St. Bonifacius appreciated the visits from the students, as well as the rescue bags.

“It was a terrific gesture on the part of MWHS students to show their support and appreciation for those that serve the Minnetrista community,” said Minnetrista City Administrator Mike Barone. “It was much appreciated!”

The Orono Police Department also appreciated the bags and called them a “nice gesture from our young people.”

St. Boni Administrator Brenda Fisk called the gift a “true act of kindness” and said, “It was wonderful to see the students visiting the St. Boni fire station to personally thank the firefighters for their dedication and also to recognize the public works employees being on call at all times to assist in public safety.”

The school-wide community service learning project, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of altrusim, began with MWHS students packing the “rescue bags” on Jan. 16, when the entire Westonka School District celebrated the life and dreams of MLK. As part of the Westonka DECA “Because I said I would” project, MWHS made a promise to package 340 bags with the goal of helping local police, fire, EMTs and public works employees through some long, cold hours this winter. Each bag also included an appreciative personal note from a student.

DECA’s “Because I said I would” project is a year-long chapter project with a goal of helping people leave the world a tiny bit better than how they found it. MWHS Senior and DECA president Tiffany Nguyen called the project a “highlight” of her DECA project.

“It was very rewarding to see people be recognized and appreciated for making our community a better place,” Nguyen said. “It’s very humbling to see how students can come together and create some positivity in the world.”