For more photos, go to http://community.coastalcourier.com/gallery/detail/1623/.
Long County residents commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and honored local first responders Saturday at First Baptist Church of Ludowici. Associate Pastor Durwood Miller welcomed the crowd and talked to those in attendance about how Sept. 11, 2001, changed the United States. Pastor Eric Rentz also addressed the group.
“Tonight we want to memorialize all of the people who died on 9/11, but in addition to this, we want to thank all of you — the men and women in this room — for what you do for us,” Rentz said.
Ludowici/Long County Volunteer Fire Department Chief Darrell Ballance reminded the crowd that first responders are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They stand by, always ready to serve those in need.
“What we do every day, we don’t just do it for friends — we do it for everybody,” he said. “We risk our lives most of the time for most people who we don’t even know.”
The group of honorees included EMS workers, firefighters, support volunteers and law-enforcement personnel. After the first responders were treated to a home-cooked meal, Rentz and Ballance distributed certificates of appreciation.
Several guests reflected on the events of 9/11 and how the attacks affected first responders all over the nation.
“It opened our eyes. It made people more aware of what was going on. Before 9/11, we took things for granted, but since then, everyone is much more aware,” Long County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Laura Powell said.
Larry Milton, a retired Hinesville police officer, said, “9/11 put everyone on alert. Now we know that it can happen over here. Before 9/11, we always thought of that kind of thing happening over there. But after the attack happened in our own backyard, now we know better and so we have to always be prepared.”
L/LCVFD firefighter and EMT Arthur Davis offered his opinion on why many people choose public-safety careers.
“I’ve done this for many years now — back when I didn’t even get paid for it,” he said. “Most of us don’t do it for the money. You do it, but you don’t expect anything back in return. For me, getting paid is extra.”