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First responders honored

On September 15, Eden Worship Center in Honeyville hosted its 11th annual Patriot Day Service honoring the first responders who serve LaGrange County.

    “Following the 9/11 attacks our nation experienced not only the pain of loss but a profound pride in the men and women who ran in when others ran away,” commented Pastor Harold Gingerich, “and our desire is to let our local police and fire departments know how much we appreciate their service and their bravery right here in our Topeka and Shipshewana communities.”

    “Every year Eden Worship has a special service and they honor police, fire and EMS personnel,” stated Lora Miller, a 12-year veteran and officer with the Shipshewana Fire Department. “They do a wonderful job of making us feel loved and appreciated!”

    This year Erick Riddle, a volunteer police and fire chaplain for 17 years, was the featured speaker. Erick and his wife, Donna, live in Ft. Wayne, Ind., where he leads the chaplain program for the police department. He responded with the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC) to the September 11, 2001 attacks by working Port Authority officers at the disaster morgue and Ground Zero. He told the story of solemn honor that was given by those guarding the area. They would stand and salute as the ambulances would bring in the remains of a fallen firefighter or police officer.  He also spoke to the first responders from Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) who was the ‘first to respond’ when he “came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds,” at great risk to himself.

    Patriot Day is not only a reminder of what we lost, but what we have – men and women who live in our communities and sacrifice time with their families to keep other families safe.