Fresno Pacific volleyball coach Tracy Ainger-Schulte wants to bring communities together.
That, and a personal connection, explain the motivation behind First Responders Appreciation Day, a tribute to law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical technicians beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Sunbirds’ match against Cal Baptist follows at 3 p.m. at the Special Events Center.
“I am married to a deputy sheriff,” Ainger-Schulte said of husband, Brian Schulte. “I have been hit hard by the difficult times we have seen for law enforcement and communities alike. Just wanted to take a moment to try and bring people together and to give thanks.”
Ainger-Schulte said she had a Veterans Appreciation Day when she was the coach at Fresno City College.
I’m blessed to be in a position where I can give thanks on a personal level, in the hopes that our community shares in the sentiment.
Fresno Pacific volleyball coach Tracy Ainger-Schulte on First Responders Appreciation Day
“I just thought we’d take the next step in thanking our local heroes,” she said. “I want it to grow bigger and better every year, and I hope that it will bring people together.”
Before the match, first responders and their vehicles will be on the Fresno Pacific green. El Bajio Restaurant will sell taco plates, with first responders eating free just by showing their ID.
Honorees also will receive a T-shirt and be invited into the Special Events Center for a pre-match ceremony. Fans can purchase a commemorative shirt.
Admission to the match is free, though donations are welcome. Proceeds from the day will benefit injured correctional officers Juanita Davila and Toamalama Scanlan. The officers were shot Sept. 3 during a confrontation at the Fresno County jail.
“I take pride in knowing that our Fresno Pacific administration/community has been supportive of this idea from day one,” Ainger-Schulte said. “I’m blessed to be in a position where I can give thanks on a personal level, in the hopes that our community shares in the sentiment.”
Honoring area’s first responders
VOLLEYBALL: FRESNO PACIFIC VS. CAL BAPTIST
▪ The match: 3 p.m. Saturday at the Special Events Center
▪ Records: Sunbirds 3-5, 1-3 PacWest, pending Wednesday result vs. Hawaii Pacific; Lancers 9-3, 4-0
▪ The tribute: Law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and their vehicles will be on the university green beginning at 1 p.m. as part of First Responders Appreciation Day. Food and festivities, including a children’s bounce house, also will be offered.
▪ Admission: Free, but donations are welcome