By Haley Watson, Correspondent
On Saturday, June 17, a group of ten women and a few helping husbands hosted the Belton First Responders Hero Celebration at the Belton Church of Christ. Flyers were posted throughout the town, at each of the stations and church members used word-of-mouth to carry out the invitation to all first responders and their families.
“It’s awful nice, a lot of times you don’t get a pat on the back, so it is very nice.” said retired firefighter Arthur Kinsinger.
As people began to gather, officers, firefighters and church members socialized and enjoyed a meal prepared by church member, Ty Taggart. Any food remaining after the event was divided and delivered to the stations for the first responders. Many of the members of the church voiced their excitement about the event and hope to see more events like this one in the future.
“We just wanted our first responders to feel like they are important and appreciated.” “They aren’t told thank you enough.” said coordinator of the event, Jan Haney.
Photographer Jane Gibson took photos of people who attended the event and wanted their photo taken. She captured photos of individuals and groups who were proud to appear both in and out of uniform.
“There have been a couple of days I wonder if it is all worth it, but the kind of support shown here and in this community makes it all worth it. I love it.” said Firefighter Samuel Fite.
Decorating the tables were cards of gratitude created and colored by the Church of Christ Bible School children and a banner hung on the wall with a list of all community businesses that sponsored the celebration.
Contributors to the Hero Celebration included Sol de Jalisco Belton, Monteith Abstract Title Temple-Belton, Fairway Mortgage/Jacob Baker, Farmer’s Insurance, B.J.’s Restaurant Temple, Bo Bo’s BBQ Belton, HEB Belton, Belton Wal-Mart Lake Road, Office Depot Office Max Temple, Trophies, Etc. Belton, Temple Sam’s, Jack’n’Jill Donuts Sparta Road, Shipley’s Donuts Belton, Starbucks Belton, Cap Fleet Outfitters Temple, Don Ringler Chevrolet and Toyota Temple, Ft. Hood Sentinel, Grand Ave. Theaterss Belton, Score’s Pizza Belton, Sonic, Chisholm Trail Flooring, Panera Bread Temple, Jane Gibson Photography, Keller Williams Realty/Jan Haney Belton and Belton Church of Christ.
“I think we have a good partnership with the church.” Officer Daniel Aguirre continued, “They’re showing support for us, but at the same time we want to show our support for them. We can’t take care of our community without the community.”
Many of the officers and firefighter that attended Saturday’s celebration voiced their appreciation for the support demonstrated. Throughout the week, the Hero Celebration was continued surprising the stations throughout Belton with donations from the various contributors in the area. A few of the church members delivered contributions such as coffee donated by Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A donated by a member of the church, pizza donated by Score’s and much more.
“We want to support them [first responders] because they obviously support us in so many ways.” concluded Preaching Minister Ritchie Hamm, “We just wanted to honor our first responders.”