September 10, 2013 9:55:21 AM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
In commemoration of 9/11, Starkville groups are teaming to pay tribute to local first responders.
Mississippi State's Maroon Volunteer Center and Volunteer Starkville are hosting events today and Wednesday in an effort to give back to those they say already give so much.
"It's about serving those who serve us," said Rod Holmes, volunteer coordinator for the Maroon Volunteer Center.
Holmes said a team of MSU students and local residents will go to the Starkville Police Department and the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department and lend a hand in any way they are needed. The group cleaned the police department's gun range last year and they're hoping to do the same this year, he said.
"We'll help them clean up and whatever needs to be done to help them operate a little bit smoother," he added.
On Wednesday, first responders will read to children at Starkville Public Library and explain what they do on a day-to-day basis during "Story Time with Local heroes." The children will make postcards for the first responders as a way to say thank you. Later that evening, the community is encouraged to gather at Fire Station Number One and remember those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City. Holmes said the event is "child and family friendly" and will offer face painting, as well as information booths on the day in the life of a first responder. Children will also be able to get inside fire trucks, ambulances and police cars.
Holmes, an Air Force veteran, said he feels it is important for the community to give back to those who risk their lives.
"I think it is important for students and the Starkville community alike to recognize the first responders in the Starkville area and to recognize them on such a week and such a date," he said.
"We allow people to be aware, of not only responders, but the individuals that give tireless efforts to keep people safe. What better way than an occasion such as 9/11."
Those interested in volunteering can contact the Maroon Volunteer Center at 662-352-2150 or Volunteer Starkville at 662-268-2865.
How to participate:
Tuesday, Sept. 10:
■ Contact Volunteer Starkville to help clean the Starkville Police Department or the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department from 3:00 p.m. -5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 11:
■ Starkville Public Library from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Take your children to "Story Time with Local Heroes" as first responders read to children. Children can then make a postcard to say 'thank you.'
■ Starkville Fire Station Number One from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Gather for this family friendly event to remember the events of 9/11/ Local first responders will be on hand to give children tours of fire trucks, ambulances and police cars.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah