Second Annual Heroes and Helicopters at Naperville’s Frontier Park

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First responders, public workers, and even helicopters were lined up at Frontier Sports Complex for the second annual Heroes and Helicopters.

“This is your second annual Heroes and Helicopters event. This is an event that we put on with State Senator Laura Ellman, and we get to bring many community members around, many community organizations, and first responders for an enjoyable day,” State Representative Janet Yang Rohr.

“Heroes and Helicopters is a place where families can bring their kids. Their kids can see awesome trucks, ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles, ATVs, and a helicopter,” said State Senator Laura Ellman.

Two for one in 2023

Last year’s event didn’t have a helicopter because of harsh weather conditions. This year State Senator Laura Ellman and State Representative Janet Yang Rohr made it a two-for-one special. 

“A helicopter landed already at 10:00, and we’re going to have another one landing so people can see get the experience of a helicopter coming down from the sky and then have a chance to go inside, see what the controls are, and even get a selfie,” said Ellman.

The first helicopter was an EC135 from the DuPage airport, while the second flew from the University of Chicago Hospital.

“We fly in a H145, and this is a very nice aircraft for EMS because it’s huge considering most of the aircraft out there, and it has two engines. So our speeds are about 140 miles an hour. So, we can do great patient care and be very quick,” said Flight Nurse Sue Gwodz.

“It’s just amazing to see the community’s support, and everybody’s always so grateful and appreciative; we just like to let them know that we’re here for them. And it’s just a nice way to interact with people and have great conversations and not in stressful situations,” said Gwodz.

Learning about real-life heroes

While the kids have fun hopping inside vehicles or learn about the different organizations involved, it’s also a good way for the kids to know more about their real-life heroes.

“I think every time the kids have a chance to talk with police and firefighters and emergency EMT’S they can get a sense of what their community is all about and who the helpers are. I think that’s important for kids to learn and rely on,” said Ellman.

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