DU QUOIN -- The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Du Quoin hosted a Saturday morning service dedicated to first responders in Du Quoin and surrounding communities. The service was to thank police officers, firefighters and ambulance service crews for the work that they do helping to protect and serve the communities in which they live.
Pastor Tom Ferguson explained that church member Donna Sills initiated the recognition a year ago and the project was so well received that it carried over to this year. Three first responders attended the service, including Du Quoin Fire Department Captain Adam Hill, firefighter Aaron Haggard and Dowell Police Chief Phillip Boss. All received gifts of bibles and flowers from the church membership,
"We appreciate all that they do for the community," Ferguson said. "They not only enforce the law, but fight the fires and take care of the medical needs of the community. That's what this appreciation is all about today."
Following the presentation, the congregation and honorees made the short trek to the fellowship hall for lunch.
Boss said he was touched by the sincerity of the recognition.
"It means a lot to me. We don't get this (show of appreciation) a whole lot," he said. "When you have a congregation like this working together and working for the Lord, it helps us."
Boss said providing a faith-based message to younger church members, in particular, can sometimes keep young people out of trouble, making the job easier for first responders like him.
"We don't want to run into these kids down the road with drug addictions and domestic situations," he said. "That's where churches like this one can help."
Hill was also impressed with the ceremony.
"It was a wonderful service and greatly appreciated," he said. "Hats off to this congregation for doing what they did for us. It's such a special thing," Hill said. "In the world we live in today -- with so much turmoil and everything -- to come here and see the love and support that we have -- it's very humbling."