On 9/11 every year, the congregation at Emmanuel plans an array of goodies to take to the Firefighters at the Manchester Station about 2 blocks west the church.
It is part of an effort to be good neighbors to the businesses, services, and residents of the community surrounding the church. Since the 9-11 tragedy, we are all the more aware of the important rolle that Fire, Police and EMS play in responding to any event where lives are in danger. We want to show our appreciation to these brave men and women who have dedicated their life’s work as good neighbors — keeping all of us as safe as possible. We want them to know they are not forgotten and that we appreciate them and pray for them.
Now in its fourth year, the Day of Blessing is organized, Helen Huber who asks the church women to bring main dishes, veggies, salads, fruits and desserts to her home or to the Fire Station #37 in the afternoon of 9/11. Then we gather at the fire station to meet the firefighters with our gifts. Helen even got a bouquet of flowers for each of the 5 men of this station who were on this shift. Jokes abounded about the men “banking” these flowers as appeasement in case they get in trouble with their wives for any reason – past or future! Ready to greet us were Mark, Guy, Sean, and John. The Chief, also named Mark was unavailable at the time of our visit.
Members of EmmanuelHaving been a Fireman for 25 years, Guy is the longest-serving member. He has handily and happily mentored many of the newbies and younger guys. On-going training refreshes their skills and keeps firefighters updated on new techniques and equipment.
When asked about the fire at Notre Dame a few months ago, the men said they were glad they weren’t there! Churches are some of the most difficult fires to get under control because of the high ceilings and the often hidden attic areas above them. In cases like these, the firefighters work mostly to keep any surrounding buildings safe while letting the fire burn itself out. Not only is a fire like this too dangerous, but it is also nearly impossible to put out.
Guy and John pose in from of the truckStation #37 has two trucks — a pumper truck for regular fires and a HAZMAT truck for hazardous spills and accidents that could result in a fire. Meeting and chatting with the men, we learned that their work is a lot of waiting and then scurrying to jump into a fire suit and hop on the truck to respond to a fire within about 4 minutes. Some days are very quiet; other days are crazy busy. There are lots of small fire stations in the city like this one. When there is a fire, as many as 4 other departments may also respond to back-up the work of the one closest to the emergency. Emergency medical service (EMS) workers also respond when there is a fire call.
Seminarian Wil Robbins and Vicar of Emmanuel The Rev. Don C. Youse, Jr.Gathering in a circle in the kitchen at the fire station, where the table was loaded with homemade goodies, about a dozen of us from the church held hands with the firemen for a prayer of blessing led by Father Don.
Being willing to risk their lives to save others from a fire is a grave and a significant work ethic. We are very grateful for their commitment to the community and the opportunity to meet and bless them once again. We will look forward to another meeting next year and pray they stay safe and healthy as they continue to keep our community safe and healthy.
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37