To thank first responders for their protection of the community, the inaugural Santa Clarita Valley Heroes Banquet on Saturday raised thousands for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Foundation and the Los Angeles County Fire Department Foundation. Hosted by the Human Ummah Foundation, the event was conceptualized just after the Sand Fire last year to thank first responders for saving homes in Sand Canyon. The event drew about 400 attendees, including around 40 sheriff’s deputies and firefighters, to raise over $20,000 for the two foundations. “There were people of many different backgrounds and we all came together,” Human Ummah Foundation Vice President Moazzem Chowdhury. For many community members, getting to interact with first responders was invaluable, Chowdhury said. “It’s the kind of feeling you get when you are talking with a hero,” he said. “Everyone was happy they could have their opportunity to meet them closely and talk with them.” The organization, comprised of Chowdhury, President Jamshed Yazdani, Secretary Munib Wani and Treasurer Junaid Khan, aims to serve others through community service. “We are living in this country so we better make it our home,” Chowdhury said. “We have the responsibility to take care of our community.” There was no better way to serve the community than to fundraise for those who are already hard at work helping protect those in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to Chowdhury. “We are working for the betterment of humanity,” the organization’s vice president said. “That is our goal.” For the SCV Sheriff’s Foundation, the donations will help fund trainings and events and buy safety equipment and new technology for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, according to Foundation President Ken Wiseman. “It’s easy to write a check, but it’s even more impactful to meet with people who you’re grateful for impacting the community,” Wiseman said. “It sends a warm message.” The event was extra special because entire families got involved, according to Wiseman. “It was a unique event in that so many of these types of events are for adults only,” Wiseman said. “I felt like it was important to include more intergenerational efforts.” Children talked with the deputies and firefighters and interacted with their vehicles outside, Wiseman said. “They were sharing their appreciation for the first responders,” he said. “I liked seeing the kids there. It was great.” For more information on Human Ummah Foundation, visit hufou.org contact them at [email protected] or (323) 673-4483.