The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

October 11, 2013

Church fetes police, firefighters

TARBORO — Saint James United Methodist Church thanked Tarboro police officers and firefighters for their service to the community with an appreciation dinner Wednesday evening.

“It’s nice to be appreciated sometimes,” said Sgt. Al Braxton of the Tarboro Police Department. Being a police officer can sometimes seem like a “thankless job,” Braxton said, because suspects they deal with on a day-to-day basis generally aren’t happy with them because of what they’re having to do, while victims sometimes don’t pause to say ‘thank you ‘ because they are going through a “traumatic situation.”

“As a rule when we see the flashing light in the rearview mirror, we think, ‘Oh, no, I am going to get a ticket,’ rather than, ‘There is an officer here who is trying to protect me and others from harm,” said appreciation dinner coordinator Linda Long. “However, when we face a house fire, auto accident or a robbery, just to name a few, then we are thankful to see you at the scene…All of us here are deeply moved by your courage, the actions that you take every day to save our lives, to save our homes, to keep us from harm.”

At the dinner, the church presented all police officers and firefighters with a special prayer encased in a plaque and stuffed animals to help them serve community members in their times of distress.

Braxton said a show of support and appreciation from the community is a “good morale booster” for officers just starting their career in law enforcement, which isn’t a high-paying job.

“That makes them feel like, ‘This is going to take me a lot further than having a million dollars,” Braxton said. “Thank you’s go a long way.”

Patrolman D.R. Norville has been with the department three years.

“I’m just glad that the community appreciates us and I’m glad we can be there for them,” he said.

Church member Herb Ross read a poem dedicated to the police officers and firefighters. He began by asking the question,

“When you were growing up, were you ever asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ And the frequent answer – many times – would be ‘I want to be a fireman, or a cop?”

He went on to say that the little ones “see something important and noble and exciting in these attractive uniforms. They see and read and are told of the noble and heroic deeds these dedicated servants perform.”

Ross told the crowd at the appreciation dinner that were there that night to honor those “precious few” who made their childhood dream of becoming a firefighter or police officer a reality.

“They – each of them and their families – contribute to the wonderful community we live in/ And we citizens feel safe and secure at all times/ because of them,” Ross said. “These keepers of the community are superbly trained to handle any emergency that comes their way – any place – any time – whatever the case may be.”

Church member Susan Fugate shared a story about the firefighters’ response to a fire call at her home.

“My experience has been that if you call, they will come and they will help, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the services in our town,” she said.

Wednesday’s appreciation dinner is part of a “Love Thy Neighbor” ministry at Saint James. Rev. Kristina Yeatts, the church’s minister of Christian education, said the purpose of the ministry is to show Christ’s love to the community in a tangible way.

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