Brundidge UMC celebrates first responders

Published 1:31 am Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Brundidge United Methodist Church hosted a First Responders’ Appreciation Day Service on Sunday. For Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas, the recognition was a boost for his spirit.

“I needed that,” Thomas said. “The timing could not have been better. Our local law enforcement agencies had dealt with an awful lot doing the week with the robbery and murder just up the street from the church. To have what we do acknowledged and appreciated means a lot to all of us at any time, but it was especially meaningful this year and on this day.”

Thomas said what the Brundidge United Methodist Church does for first responders is always very special but, this year, it was especially meaningful because of what the community is also going through.

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“We were all uplifted by coming together and being together,” Thomas said.

The BUMC has been hosting the First Responders’ Appreciation Day service for three years and each year the response is greater.

Chief Deputy Buck Williams said, with a smile, that it’s always good to know what you do is appreciated, especially when it’s accented with good, home cooking.

“Being recognized at a special service means a lot to all of us,” Williams said. “

Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport said sometimes first responders find themselves with their backs against the wall so a collective pat-on-the-back feels really good.

“The First Responders Appreciation Day service is like a dose of medicine,” he said. “It makes you feel better and right away. None of us do what we do for the money or the glory. Our purpose is to protect and to serve. We appreciate the support of Brundidge United Methodist Church. We can’t say enough about that what it means to us.”

The Reverend Ed Shirley, church pastor, said first responders have one of the most difficult jobs on the market.

“First responders are usually the first on the scene of a crisis situation which, in addition to providing emergency care when needed, they have to give encouragement and affirmation to others involved,” Shirley said. “In those situations, emotions run high and first responders often have to deal with persons with different temperaments.”

Shirley said children are often involved and that adds another dynamic to the situation.

“At BUMC, we want to show our support for our first responders and let them know that our prayers are always with them,” he said. “Each year, we provide them with some imagery of Christ being with them. The first year, we gave each first responder a compact Bible that they can carry in their pockets. Last year, our gift to them was a gold coin with the wording from Ephesians 6:11 – ‘Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’”

This year, the BUMC’s gifts to local first responders were pocket lights that are reminders that Jesus Christ is the Light of the World.

“The light is a reminder that Jesus is the Light, even in the darkest of situations,” Shirley said.
“Our first responders are sources of encouragement and empowerment in crisis situations. It is an honor to recognize them for their commitment to our community and to their fellowmen.”