The United Ministerial Alliance of Liberty County held its first prayer rally for first responders Saturday on the steps of the historic courthouse.
Pastors asked those gathered to thank Heaven for the men and women who put their lives on the line daily.
“We want to recognize them,” said Pastor Richard Hayes, UMA president and New Day Outreach Ministry senior pastor. “To let them know we appreciate them, are praying for them and have not forgotten them.”
Hinesville First United Methodist Church Pastor Rich Wright said UMA plans to make the rally an annual event. Wright said the rally, like the National Day of Prayer, should gain more participation each year. This year’s National Day of Prayer will be May 1.
Dr. Peggy Rayman, with Coastal Georgia School of Missions, said as a school nurse she saw the dedication of first responders firsthand. Rayman said last August EMTs were called to Bradwell Institute to help a teacher who fell ill during a convocation.
Liberty County Deputy EMA Director Larry Logan said he was called to assist Hancock County after an ice storm hit Georgia, and saw how first responders there were welcomed with open arms. Logan said first responders checked on elderly and infirm residents, such as those on oxygen who did not have back-up generators. Other residents were without electricity for days, and so could not boil water that had been contaminated, the deputy EMA director said. First responders distributed clean drinking water.
During the prayer service, Logan asked participants to also pray for first responders’ families, who make sacrifices so their loved ones can serve.
Wright said more than 30,000 emergency response calls were made in Liberty County last year. That translates into 84 a day, he said.
Pastor Shirley Wingate with Living Waters Ministries thanked firefighters, saying when her laundry room caught fire firefighters saved her home.
First Presbyterian Church Pastor Roland Banks said law enforcement in the county responded to 11,080 traffic accidents last year, 343 burglaries, 1,084 thefts, 874 assaults, 649 domestic incidents and 6,699 traffic violations.