For the second year in a row Tuesday, members of the Shippensburg First Church of God Outreach Committee presented donations to members of Cumberland Valley Hose Co., Vigilant Hose Co., West End Fire & Rescue Co. and Shippensburg Area EMS.
“On behalf of Shippensburg First Church of God, our Outreach Committee is honored to present gifts and a heartfelt thank you to out local emergency services and first responders: Vigilant Hose Co. 52, C.V. Hose Co. 53, West End Fire & Rescue Co. 54, and Shippensburg Area EMS, who give so much of themselves, and expect so little in return,” Outreach Committee Chair Cathy Eiswert said to those gathered Tuesday. “May God bless you and keep you safe.”
After Eiswert’s introduction, Bev Shumway offered the following prayer to the companies, after reading Psalms 28:7a, that speaks of the Lord being “my strength and my shield.”
“Lord, God, we are so thankful for the first responders represented here today. Our prayer is, as they trust in you, they will be protected by your shield and you will give them strength when they are tired. Grant them wisdom in every situation they encounter. May God bless you as you give yourselves to others daily. Amen.”
Following the check presentations, the members were invited inside of the former Vigilant Hose Co. headquarters at the corner of East King and Prince streets. The second floor of the building, which is next to the church, has been converted into a gathering space for the church’s youth group.
The members were in awe of the renovations made to the former bunkhouse, and relived many memories they made over the years. Some were trying to remember where the fireman’s pole extended down to the first floor for quick responses to calls.
Jerry Swope of the First Church of God said church members are now working to convert the former engine bays into a social hall for more community outreach opportunities.
The church has supported Shippensburg area first responders in a number of ways. Greg Coy, president of Vigilant Hose Co., said the Outreach Committee visited each of the stations in recent months, and provided ice cream socials for the members after their regular meetings.
“I’m very grateful for the church,” Coy said. “They’ve done quite a few things for us, and should be proud of what they do for the emergency services.”
Steve O’Donnell of West End Fire & Rescue Co. agreed with Coy.
“We need the community support,” O’Donnell said. “Without the community support, we’re not going to make it. We definitely appreciate the church’s contributions and support.”
Church member Leah Helm said it’s important to support the town’s emergency services personnel.
“As Christians, we are called by God to reach out to the community,” she said. “Our church’s motto is: ‘Loving God. Loving our family. And loving our neighbors.’ And that’s what we try to do with our community outreach.”