Luverne honors hometown heroes

Published 9:58 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2023

First Baptist Church in Luverne is partnering with the Luverne Police Department to show their gratitude and love for first responders by hosting a family luncheon event on May 20 beginning at 10 a.m.

The event is part of an ongoing effort which includes monthly breakfasts for first responders – law enforcement officers, volunteer firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) – and their family, recognizing their efforts and fostering relationships aimed to care for those who selflessly serve their communities.

“This luncheon is designed to let everybody know who we (first responders) are and what we do,” said Luverne Police Department Chaplain Carlton Carmichael. “The volunteer fire department, people don’t realize they are on call 24/7. It’s all volunteer. You could be working next to a firefighter and not even know it.”

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The luncheon program will feature speakers expressing their gratitude for the work first responders do, helping others when they can’t help themselves and showing up to the difficult situations, ready to help and being heroes to those in need.

First, Luverne pastor Clay Crum said the men and women who serve their community rarely receive recognition for their service.

“We call on them when we have hardships or in difficult situations, to help us deal with our problems,” Crum said. “They end up bearing the weight of our problems and we want them to know that they have friends they can count on for support and for help.

Crum said first responders and their families are invited to share a time of fellowship and get to know one another and others in the community who wish to offer their support.

“The things they see and do can weigh on a person if you deal with them day in and day out,” Crum said. “We want them to be able to know there is a place they can come and be themselves and open up to share their struggles and the burdens they bear so that we can help them and bear the burdens together.”

Carmichael agree that first responders face difficult situations, help others through events which sometimes linger with the helpers responding to give aid.

“I can tell you where every person died in a Crenshaw County car accident,” Carmichael said. “That stuff stays with you. I don’t talk about it, but I can tell you about every one of them. It sticks in your mind. We want first responders to know that if something is bothering them, we’re there to discuss it. We’re there to talk to them and help them through it.”

Dr. Tim Faulk, clinical director for the Alabama Law Enforcement Alliance for Peer Support (ALLEAPS) will address attendees to discuss resources available to first responders and their families.

Crum said the luncheon and other similar events are an important part of serving first responders and their families.

“We want to encourage them and their family members,” Crum said. “Sometimes the family knows something and may be struggling. Sometimes we don’t reach out when we need help, but we want them to know we are here for them.”

Crum said relationships built through the outreach have opened doors for him to serve the servants on several occasions, helping first responders deal with situations that lingered in their minds and hearts.

“I’ve had some opportunities to help law enforcement with issues and have done counseling sessions on emotional and spiritual challenges,” Crum said. “They come from time to time, to ask questions on some emotional and spiritual things. One man received Christ and joined the church and since then, two others have joined our faith family.”

The luncheon is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on May 20 at First Luverne Baptist Church located at 45 East Third Street in Luverne. To RSVP, please call the Luverne Police Department at (334) 335-2406.