Portage holds First Responders Night at boys basketball game

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 10:19 PM CST
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PORTAGE, Wis. (WMTV) - Portage High School held their first ever First Responders Night during the Portage vs. Oregon boys basketball game on Friday night.

Portage Athletic Director, Ed Carlson said the idea for the night came after some of his own personal encounters with first responders coming to the school.

“We’ve had a couple incidents that have been real scary and thankfully turned out they weren’t real threats,” Carlson said. “To see the response we had from all of these departments is just really a comfort for our staff and students to know that they have our back and will keep us safe.”

At the basketball game first responders were given t-shirts, dinner, the colors were presented by a special Honor Guard made up of first responders and there was a ceremony at halftime to honor the first responders in attendance.

“We take things for granted that we shouldn’t,” Carlson said. “Unfortunately tragic situations cause you to think about it, anytime there’s a lifesaving measure or a security threat unfortunately that’s when you think about it. We should think about it more and without these people our lives would be drastically different.”

Portage School Resource Officer Kate Behling said she knew in high school she wanted to go into law enforcement and being an SRO was always the goal.

“I’m fortunate to be in this position and have such support behind me,” Behling said. “A lot of cities and communities don’t have the support we have here in Portage.”

Behling is in her third year as Portage’s SRO and said when she found out about the night she felt appreciated and thankful that the community was coming together to thank the first responders.

“Working for the police department it’s like one family and I feel so fortunate to have a second family with the school district and work with the kids and be supported by both entities is great,” Behling said.

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