RIO GRANDE — Gallia County first responders appeared in the Lyne Center parking lot of the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College around noon Thursday to meet with students and the community to celebrate safety and security services in the county.
“In years past for Sept. 11, we’ve had more of a memorial service and it’s been relatively low attended by students and staff and faculty,” said Seth Lawrence, URG student engagement coordinator. “I kind of wanted to change the tone of it this year and make it more about honoring the sacrifice our first responders have made and continue to make for us here and abroad. So we reached out to Bob Brandeberry. He’s the fire chief here in Rio (Village of Rio Grande) and he had a lot of connections and got (the first responders) here today. It was kind of a joint effort between my office, (the fire chief) and Abby Conder. She is the international programs and services coordinator. We coordinated to get all these people here.”
Lawrence said he was impressed with the turnout and felt that everyone had enjoyed their presence on campus.
“I hope they recognize that we honor them,” Lawrence said.
Uniformed responders were offered free lunches at the campus’ cafeteria.
According to Lawrence, because Sept. 11 falls on a Sunday, the learning institution wanted to honor responders on a day when they felt campus traffic would be highest.
“We really wanted to make this a positive event and not so much a somber one,” Lawrence said.
Of the individuals and organizations to attend the event, Rio Grande Fire Department appeared, as well as troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning and deputies, Rio Grande Police Department, Gallia County Emergency Agency Deputy Director Tim Miller and the Gallia County EMS and Medflight with their medical evacuation chopper appeared.
Conder also noted that campus police were on scene to answer questions.
Chief Brandeberry noted the importance of displaying to the county and regions abroad the services of Gallia offered when it came to safety and security. He said it was common that most would not see a fire truck or ambulance as they went about their daily lives, but it was important for people to realize that there are people there to help in a time of need.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.