The First Presbyterian Church of Carbondale, 76 Salem Ave., honored first responders by hosting a special 9/11 memorial observance service on Sunday, September 9.

Representatives from area police and fire departments attended the service commemorating the heroism of the first responders who sacrificed their lives during rescue attempts during the 9/11 tragedies, as well as the daily sacrifices made by the emergency personnel who serve the local community.

Organist and choir director Wendy Mol and the church’s choir set the mood with a stirring rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The music throughout the service was likewise patriotic in keeping with the mood of the event.

Pastor Wayne Wolfe opened the service by thanking the first responders present for their selfless service and by reminding the congregation that ongoing support and appreciation from the community are important to those who serve, not just on special occasions, but throughout the year.

In his sermon, Pastor Wolfe said that it’s not enough for people in the community to say “Thanks for your service!” and think that’s enough. He urged the congregation to also be advocates for first responders by helping to ensure that they have good working conditions, have access to proper equipment, and are able to earn a living wage.

The firemen and police officers in attendance also heard some words of advice from pastor Wolfe. He reminded them to always have compassion, to avoid becoming cynical and jaded, and to remember to retain an attitude of mercy towards those they encounter as they do their jobs.

Quoting St. Paul, Pastor Wolfe told them not to become weary of doing good, telling them that they have taken on their roles as emergency responders through the guidance of God.

Certificates of appreciation were presented by Pastor Wolfe to Carbondale Police Chief Brian Bognatz, Carbondale Fire Chief Chris Pezak, and Tony Aileo of Meredith Hose Co. After presenting the certificates, Pastor Wolfe graced those present with prayers to watch over and protect the courageous men and women who act as first responders.

After the service, everyone in attendance was invited to partake of light refreshments provided by the church’s deacons in the Fellowship Hall of the historical house of worship.