Hamburgers and Heroes event brings together children, officers

n The Sept. 18 event is at Simple Pleasures in the Highlands.

Photo submitted Ken Miner, center, founder of Heroes and Hamburgers, with Police Chief Ken Farmer, left, and Fire Chief Steve Sims. First Heroes and Hamburgers is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Special To The Weekly Vista

While watching the turmoil of Ferguson, Mo., then hearing about communities imploding with pent-up frustration, Ken Miner knew that he had to act.

"How can we prevent our community from feeling so angry and disconnected?" he asked himself.

That sparked the creation of the Heroes and Hamburgers event.

Miner, owner of Simple Pleasures Events Center in the Highlands of Bella Vista, grew up with a high respect for police and firefighters. He knew that these men and women chose to serve their community, putting themselves at risk daily, for people in their community they may not know. From a young age, these people were his heroes.

Miner knows not everyone had the same experience growing up and, in many cases today, a person's only contact with these departments is in negative events such as car accidents, tickets or calling in noise complaints. Because of this, some children grow up with a negative bias towards law enforcement due to lack of exposure to the positive impact of their work.

He wants people to know that local police, fire and EMS crews are not just approachable, but that they are amazing people who sacrifice family-time, are on the job 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to keep Bella Vista a great place to live.

By developing Heroes and Hamburgers, Miner wants to bring the community together with law enforcement not only to meet them but, really understand what they do for our community, day in and day out.

Bella Vista Mayor Peter Christie, Police Chief Ken Farmer and Fire Chief Steve Sims met with Miner and further evolved the event over some famous Simple Pleasures wood-fired cheeseburgers. They decided those cheeseburgers, fun activities, classic rock and roll and the opportunity for interaction with law enforcement, fire and EMS members would be a great base for the event.

Mayor Christie suggested they meet with the Bella Vista Foundation to find additional ways this event could give back. Through meetings with Tom Pyatt and other board members, they determined the proceeds of this event should fund the much-needed purchase and installation of life-saving computer systems for the city's first-responder vehicles. The Bella Vista Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, will manage the proceeds of this event and make the donation for the computers.

Adding additional excitement to this event, activities were suggested that would increase interaction with the heroes and the community members, especially kids, like Hero Hayrides pulled by a Bella Vista emergency vehicle and having emergency equipment on hand that kids can learn about, touch and test, like firefighter bunker gear and ladders.

By inviting other community members and businesses to be involved in the event, they believe that Sept. 18 will be something people are talking about for a long time. Not only will attendees have fun, it will also have long-lasting benefits, building relationships between community members and local law enforcement, as well as the immediate benefits of the life-saving computers.

"There is still time to participate and we need sponsors," Miner said. Visit the event website for more information on sponsorships and event details.

"How can we help our community?" Miner asked. "By coming together at Heroes and Hamburgers to meet and interact with our local heroes and have fun too! It is a great cause!"

Simple Pleasures is at 13718 Rothbury Dr. From the Intersection of Arkansas Highways 240 and 279, go west through the Highlands' gate, travel approximately 3 miles on Highlands Boulevard to the right turn onto Rothbury Drive. The events center is on the left.

General News on 08/31/2016