SHELDON, Mo. — Area first responders are being thanked for their service.

The 5th Annual Appreciation Event for first responders returned to the Lodge of Hope in Sheldon this afternoon.

Throughout the day Peterson’s Outdoor Ministries and 360 Auto Service treated first responders and their families to food, music and activities.

Some tried their hands at archery and axe throwing while others made some new friends at the petting zoo.

“This event is so important to us because our first responders all across the United States, a lot of them don’t get the recognition they deserve and so here at Lodge of Hope and in Southwest Missouri we believe our first responders are important, what they do for us and our community is so important, so this day is for them and their families to come out, enjoy themselves as free of charge,” said Tron Peterson, Peterson Outdoor Ministries Director.

Special honors were given to fallen Joplin Police Officers Corporal Benjamin Cooper and Officer Jake Reed who passed away in March.

Officer Rick Hirshey also served as the guest speaker of the event.