It's easy to take for granted that firefighters and police will respond when people need them. But Sunday morning at Fairfax Church of Christ, members of the Fair Oaks fire and police stations learned just how much the community cares.
They were praised at the start of the church service and then received special gifts — a gas grill for the police station and a plasma TV for the fire station.
ALSO PRESENTED was a special banner saying, "9/11/01 - 9/11/06, We remember ... thank you," signed by most of the church's 1,100 members. Then everyone watched a videotape of thank yous from members of the church.
"We come to give honor to those who preserve the peace and keep us safe," said the Rev. Murray Sanderson, worship minister. "They go the second mile and lay down their lives for people, just as Jesus did."
He said his church calls 911 "fairly frequently" for things such as elderly people with health problems, a child having a seizure or an alarm going off. And, he added, emergency personnel "come and show their cars and fire engines to our preschool, so they've really been a blessing to us."
The Rev. Bruce Black, senior minister, also made reference to the Sept. 11 tragedy. "Five years ago tomorrow, we went through one of the most horrifying days in our history," he said. "And in the ensuing five years, we realize we're a blessed nation because we survived and because of the way people helped out."
"We were knocked to our knees as a nation, looked up to God and saw heroes among us in our police officers and firefighters," continued Black. "We [still] see you protecting us each day, and it means a lot to us. We know you're only a phone call away, and we appreciate it immensely."
Representatives of both the fire and police departments were there Sunday, including Kevin Kincaid, Fairfax County's deputy chief of the Safety and Personnel-Services Division, and Capt. Amy Lubas, commander of the Fair Oaks District Police Station.
AFTERWARD, Fire Technician Kurt Hoffman said the fire station was "blessed and honored" to receive the TV. "It'll be nice for evening time, and I'm glad we could represent the Fire Department as a whole in accepting it," he said. "We're glad the church thinks of us and remembers us. The whole station is very grateful for that."
"It was very touching to see how members of the community were reaching out to appreciate what public safety does on a regular basis," added Lubas. "It was a wonderful service, and it was very generous of the church to make the donations to the fire and police stations."
She received a DVD of the church thank yous and has had it played at each roll call, since then, "so all the officers will understand where the donation came from and why. It's a morale booster for the officers to understand that they are appreciated, and they're absolutely overwhelmed with the grill and very grateful."