"Their commitment and bravery is amazing to me," Alred said. "The sacrifices they make and their willingness to risk their lives to help total strangers are characteristics that are highly admirable."
When asked to the be the keynote speaker for Tuesday night's program at the Harlan Center, dubbed an Evening With Harlan County Heroes, Alred said there wasn't any hesitation on his part to accept the invitation.
"We have a lot of which to be proud here in Harlan County, and that includes our emergency personnel," Alred said. "I'm looking forward to the night. I'm looking forward to meeting these men and women, shaking their hands, thanking them for their hard work, and I hope members of the community will come out in full force for the night, too."
An Evening With Harlan County Heroes is scheduled, appropriately, for Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. The program will include a photography exhibit organized by the Harlan County Photography Guild, which will contain over 100 dramatic images of not only rescue, but portraits of the brave men and women behind the uniforms.
"There's a lot of things a person can take a photo of, but it's rare you will find a photo with as much of a story attached to it as when you capture an image of a first first responder on the scene," said Harlan County Photography Guild Member Brandon Goins. "This isn't bugs on flowers. These are sometimes dramatic or life-changing experiences. Even as the outsider, the photographer being a part of these experiences makes you revere life and helps you to understand why these men and women do what they do."
Tickets for An Evening With Harlan County's Heroes are now are on sale at $10 each and can be purchased by contacting Dan Mosley at 573-2600. The evening will also include a barbecue dinner and rock music by local group "Force 10." Mosley described the night as a "laid-back and casual" evening for emergency personnel and their families to have the chance to "unwind and fellowship."
"This is the perfect opportunity for the community to come out and thank these guys one on one for their contributions to this county," said Mosley, who has teamed up with the Photography Guild to organize the program. "This is the first time in a long time Harlan County has had a night like this dedicated to emergency personnel and has had a night where they will all be gathered in one place for the community to meet and greet. I encourage everyone to come out. They are some of the finest men and women you will ever meet."