Patriot Day honors local first responders
A large crowd filled the Coffee County Courthouse lawn beneath the shadow of a large American Flag Sunday afternoon to honor local first responders and pay tribute to those who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks 11 years ago.
Staff photo by Josh Peterson - Doves are released in honor of first responders and others who lost their lives on 9/11.
Honoring local first responders was the theme of the afternoon.
“[Our first responders] are the men and women who protect and serve us,” said Rob Morland with the American Legion Gold Post 78, drawing a rousing ovation.
Several area firemen and law enforcement officers were honored with various awards during the hour-long ceremony. One lawman, Coffee County Sheriff’s Department investigator, delivered a short but strong speech after being named Sheriff’s Deputy of the Year.
“I’m very honored,” said Dendy, fighting back tears and a cracking voice. “It means a lot to me. There are a lot of folks that gave their all and gave their life for this and for us to have this today. I’ll accept this for the families who have lost loved ones and every good man and woman who puts on the badge every day to take a stand and protect our community.”
Perhaps the most unique award of the afternoon went to Jason Little. Technically not a first responder by trade, Little was presented the First Responder Award for his heroic actions on Gowan Rd. when he saved eight-year-old Parker Jones from inside a burning vehicle.
“It’s hard to have children and look at a child in that situation and not see your own,” said Little, who ran towards the vehicle with a fire extinguisher and saved the child.
Little went on to quote Winston Churchill and compare the words to what first responders do.
“It’s not good enough for us to just do our best,” Little said. “Sometimes, we must do what is required. A man who does what he must does so in spite of all personal consequences, in spite of all dangers, obstacles and all pressure. This, he said, was the basis of all human morality. And I believe that is the spirit in which all our men and woman put on their uniforms every morning, take up that responsibility and offer that sacrifice.”
Read the complete story in this week’s (Sept. 12) print edition of the Manchester Times along with expanded 9/11 coverage.