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Most of the time, one knows how important the fire and police departments are to the community. On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, most people didn't really even know where their Fire Department was until September 11th. On that fateful day, Ladder 35, Engine 40 at 66th and Amsterdam got a call to respond to a "plane accident" at the World Trade Centers. Little did they know that at the end of that day, 11 men would not come back to the station and their company's life as they knew would never be the same.
They were hurting deeply as the first of the MNYBA volunteers came and visited them a few days after September 11. Volunteers prayed with them and lent an ear and loved them with cards and notes from all over the world that were sent to the offices of MNYBA just blocks away from the station.
As a relationship has been built with volunteers coming and visiting and praying and listening, MNYBA and the Birmingham Baptist Association came up with the idea of having a banquet to honor them for the work that they do all year round and for the sacrifices that they made on September 11. The decision was made out of a beginning partnership with Birmingham. The Director of Missions in Birmingham is a former Firefighter and felt a special love for these guys. We agreed that this would benefit MNYBA for an ongoing community relationship.
Disaster Funds were used to host a dinner for the firemen, their wives and children so that the family would not be split up. This dinner would be one of a relaxed nature with them being "served" the whole night long including an honoring time for the guys and their families. A Baptist Campus Ministry in the Association would offer child care.
The evening started with a great dinner, great music and great conversation. That led to an honoring time and a "beginning" of partnership with MNYBA and BBA and the company on 66th and Amsterdam. Many of the widows came and said that it was nice to know that their husbands were not forgotten. They were worried that people would forget what had happened to their husbands and to their families.
One of the wives commented that the company didn't get together for recreation much so this was a nice time for them. Being there and showing them God's Love in tangible way was a great beginning to hopefully a long relationship with this Fire Station. Baptists who gave to Disaster Relief will be proud to see that these families were shown God's love in a ministry of presence and fellowship.
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