APlex to host annual Project Blue Light

News Photo by Julie Goldberg Project Blue Light coordinator Gloria Egelski stands with the Project Blue Light ceremony sign at the corner of Johnson Street and Woodward Ave. Egelski said all are welcome to come and honor law enforcement officers and firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty.

ALPENA — The 18th Annual Project Blue Light Ceremony to honor fallen officers and firefighters who have died in the line duty is Tuesday at the APlex.

The event starts at 7 p.m. with refreshments after.

Project Blue Light will honor seven law enforcement officers and firefighters from around the state who died this past year while in the line of duty: Officer Jonathan W.R. Ginka, Trooper Timothy O’Neill, Correction Officer Thomas C. Bunker, Deputy Sheriff Eric Overall, Volunteer Firefighter/EMT Ronald Savage, Firefighter Kevin Ramsey, and Chief Edward A. Switalski Jr.

The ceremony will begin with the honor guard, which Egelski said started at a practice.

All children in attendance will be invited to say the Pledge of Allegiance. The guest speaker is former State Fire Marshal Julie Secontine, and Lt. Eric Hamp of the Alpena Police Department will read the names of the fallen law enforcement and firefighters from the past year.

The event means a lot to Egelski because her son, Bryon, died in the line of duty.

“I continue to do it for the law enforcement and the firefighters so that they can honor their coworkers,” she said. “The survivors can also honor their relatives or friends.”

Egelski said there are many survivors in the area. Relatives who live in the area will be candleholders and there will be a law enforcement officer or a firefighter who will escort the candleholder during the ceremony.

There will be two Christmas trees, one in blue for the law enforcement and one in red for the firefighters.

Between 250 and 300 people attend the event every year.

“I always like to stress that it’s open to the public and we would love the public to come,” Egelski said. “We ask the public to come and enjoy.”

For more information about Project Blue Light, contact Egelski at 464-0646.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.