Wednesday, June 15, 2016

TOP STORY >> 9/11 salute to first responders

Leader staff writer

It’s almost been 15 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, and in memory of its fallen heroes, approximately 403 first responders, the Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (SDIA) announced its sixth annual Patriot Day Festival.

The Saturday, Sept. 10 event is free and open to the public, said Jeff Watts, SDIA Central Arkansas Chapter commander.

It will be held at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium at 1 Stadium Drive from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Inside the stadium, teams will compete in a 16-team, single-elimination 8-on-8 flag football tournament dubbed the Patriot Bowl, while outside, there will be family-friendly events and activities.

Sheep Dog refers to the position the military and first responders take, putting themselves between the public and crisis, Watts said.

These will include K-9 and rescue demonstrations, children’s activities, military and first-responder vehicles and helicopters.

Watts said they’re in the process of organizing and encourages others to put together football teams to compete.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Marine Corps Reserves, which will be commemorated with a special Centennial Celebration at the Patriot’s Day Festival, Watts said.

Sgt. Major Lance Nutt, SDIA’s founder and president, said, “Our Patriot Day events are the perfect opportunity for children and adults to get to know their local Sheep Dogs, the men and women who make up our military and first responder professions.”

SDIA’s mission is to engage, assist and empower injured military and first responders through camaraderie and peer support and activities such as their Outdoor Adventures and holiday programs.

The event’s proceeds will provide Thanksgiving dinners to Sheep Dog families in need.

For more information about the Patriot’s Day Festival or Sheep Dog Impact Assistance, call Jeff Watts at 501-712-5514 or email