Large-scale disasters reaffirm the vital role and bravery of first responders. However, many often overlook the everyday dangers that first responders face in order to save others. Over the years, the Dallas Sai Center has built strong relationships with many first responders including the police, the firefighters, and the Salvation Army, among others. The Sathya Sai Organization is built on a foundation of selfless service, and the Dallas Sai Center felt it important to honor those who spend every second practicing selfless service in their own lives. And so the S.A.I Community Festival was born: a public outreach event celebrating our local heroes, our first responders.


Every aspect of the event revolved around expressing gratitude to these unsung heroes of our community. By naming this event the S.A.I. Community Festival,  the organizers recognized the three core qualities these heroes embody: Service (Action), Awareness (Inspiration), and Integration (Unity). Several booths showcased the information on the various first responder organizations and the vital role they play in our community. Students of the Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) program prepared posters, each honoring a local first responder. The heroes being honored in the posters were deeply touched to see the children’s efforts. A scavenger hunt was held based on the information presented in the posters.  The Police Chief, applauded the students for their efforts in researching about the first responders, creating the posters and planning the scavenger hunt to promote greater public awareness.

The Dallas Young Adults also lent a lively atmosphere with their band performing music throughout the event. There were fun activities featuring the use of recycled materials including ring toss using empty juice bottles, cup toss using recycled yogurt cups, go-green tower using recycled containers and boxes, making bags from old newspapers and cards from recycled materials,  and face painting. 


The event was graced by several prominent guests: Plano Council Member, Rick Grady; Plano Police Assistant Chief Brad Fortune; Plano Fire Chief Captain J. Reyes; Richardson Assistant Police Chief Dr. Coby Pewitt; City House Representative Karen Voelker; Salvation Army representatives Jordanya Reeves and Elizabeth Andrus. Each received a plaque of appreciation on behalf of the various agencies they led. Certificates of appreciation were also handed out to the members of the Plano Police and Fire Department. 

It was a fun- day with many opportunities to express gratitude to the local heroes and their families. Everyone walked out of the event moved, touched, and enriched in one way or another.