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The 18th Annual Heroes Lunch

When someone thinks of the word “hero”, a rapid and almost subconscious association with daring, and tremendous acts of courage and valor seem to come to mind. These actions often times include saving a damsel in distress, stopping an evil tyrant from taking over the world, and most importantly… patrolling the streets? Although we don’t live in a world where humans are bitten by radioactive spiders [and live] to become the super humans that we often call heroes, we do, however, have the privilege to say that we have some heroes of our own. These unique sets of individuals walk around with titles such as “Policeman,” “Firefighter” or “Paramedic,” and it is because of their tremendous acts of courage and valor that we can all sleep worry free at night, waking up to a peaceful and safe environment.

In the spring of 2012, SYKES, with the help of the Tampa Bay community, showed our heroes from Hillsborough County some of the appreciation that we all share towards their efforts and dedication, with the annual Our Heroes Luncheon. The luncheon acknowledged our first responders from the Florida Highway Patrol, Tampa Airport Police Department, University of South Florida Police Department and the Police and Fire Departments of Hillsborough County, Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City. Aside from the recognition to our forces, there were also eight outstanding students, children of these heroes, who received the Coy L. Sykes Memorial Scholarship to help facilitate their pursuit for higher education.

Then President and CEO of SYKES at the time, John H. Sykes, who is now Chairman Emeritus of SYKES, created our Heroes Luncheon, which was formally known as the Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon. It has been 18 years since this tradition began, but the amount of gratitude that our residents feel towards our law enforcement and fire rescue officers will always remain strong. To all the personnel who work to ensure civilian protection and security, whether it is here in Hillsborough County or anywhere else, SYKES extends a warm and deserving acclamation for all the years of service and dedication. Thank you.