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Business leaders prepare for salute to Lowndes County first responders


Special to The Dispatch



They may be the first ones on the scene, but they are the last ones to remember. 


Various members of the community met recently to begin making preparations for the 2010 Salute to Lowndes County''s Finest.  


The meeting constituted as the first planning meeting for the 2010 Salute to Lowndes County''s Finest. Salute to Lowndes County''s Finest is a tribute to all of the first responders in Lowndes County who keep the community safe 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mark Smith, president of The CPI Group, started this event in 2002. Following 9-11 recovery efforts, Smith visited Ground Zero as a member of a civilian group attached to the New York City Police Department. He thought this would be a wonderful way to pay tribute to local responders and thank them for their service. 


The CPI Group, along with several corporate sponsors, hosted this event in 2002, 2003, and then brought it back in 2009. Salute to Lowndes County''s Finest took place last year on Sept. 11 at the Columbus Municipal Complex with barbecue and fixings as well as gift bags provided to all of Lowndes County''s first responders. More than 150 attended the event last year. In 2009, the committee raised $2,700 and helped the Columbus Police Department purchase a new McGruff the Crime Dog costume. 


Smith said the purpose of these meetings are to strategize how to improve the event every year. 


"Being our fourth time to do this, we have developed quite a passion for making it the best it can be," he explained. "If there are any organizations out there who are willing and able to help please contact me so we can get you on the list."




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