DuBOIS — City of DuBois and Sandy Township police and fire departments, as well as other first responders, brought vehicles to downtown DuBois Tuesday evening for a blessing as part of the Patriot's Day Remembrance Service at the First United Methodist Church.
The service is held annually to remember “all who have served and sacrificed for the safety” of the country, according to the First United Methodist Church website. The Patriot's Day Remembrance Service has been held for the past 17 years since Sept. 11, 2001.
John Emigh, the new pastor of the First United Methodist Church in DuBois, was full of pride for his new home and to be part of the Patriot's Day Remembrance Service in this area.
"I really haven't lived here too long. I'm so proud of this town for continuing to honor Patriot's Day, and doing it so well and so full-heartedly," Emigh said.
"I can't believe how many trucks are here, the people out watching, and then they'll come to the service tonight, how everybody comes together as a town. We're closing off the street and everything," Emigh said. "I'm just amazed and proud. As a new resident, I'm just overwhelmed."
Blessings were conducted by the Rev. Corben Russell, Pastor Bob Trask, Pastor Paul Morelli, Pastor Sarah Sedgwick and Chaplain Jim Whited.
This is the third year that emergency vehicles and first responders have been invited for a blessing, said Russell, noting he started it along with Lance Tucker, the former pastor of the FUMC in DuBois.
"We saw that it had been done elsewhere and decided, 'Why not?'" said Russell. "What a wonderful opportunity it is to thank all the people that put their lives on the line. And what a great chance for us to be able to have a presence in the community to show that we are praying for them and care."
They annoited the front of the vehicles with oil and prayed for the protection of the drivers and vehicles as “they were called to serve God and service to the community and the residents within.” After anointing the vehicles, they proceeded to the driver’s side of vehicles and shared a blessing with the those driving and their passengers.
Those watching from the sidewalks could see police officers and firefighters bow their heads as they received the blessings for protection.