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Olney Church Recognizes and Witnesses to Hometown Heroes

By Meena Dayak

Members of Potomac Conference’s Olney (Md.) church hosted their second annual Hometown Heroes Banquet on September 11 to honor the community’s police officers and firefighters.

“We are always appreciative of our first responders and their dedicated service to the community. But we remember them in a special way on 9-11, as we recall images of brave heroes heading toward burning buildings while the masses were running away from them,” said Nathan Krause, pastor of the Olney church.

Pastor Krause started the tradition of the Hometown Heroes banquet in 2008. This year, church members donated to sponsor dinner at Mamma Lucia’s restaurant for 30 police officers and firefighters and their spouses and guests. Families were invited to drop their children off at the church for a children’s program while they enjoyed their meal.

“The church is a part of the community and we want to connect with and support community members in every way we can,” said Pastor Krause. “The banquet not only helped us show our appreciation for first responders in a personal way, but was also an opportunity to witness to our guests. We hope they will come through our doors to learn more about our faith.”

Special gifts in the form of commemorative swords etched with the words “First Responders: America’s Heroes” were presented to Lt. Jacques Croom, Montgomery County Police; George Brown, Jr., Chief of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department (SSVFD); Raymond Knight, Montgomery County Sheriff; and Johnie Roth, SSVFD president.

Pastor Krause prayed for the guests at the banquet, thanking God for their service and asking Him to protect them as they serve and to bless their families. Several officers indicated that they would like to visit the church and speak to members.

Olney’s first responders were touched by the church’s recognition and hospitality. In a letter to Pastor Krause, Thomas Manger, Montgomery County’s Chief of Police wrote, “It is a true honor that you hosted this annual dinner and award presentation to celebrate the fire and police department’s efforts throughout the year. Firefighters and police officers enjoy the recognition and the opportunity to interact with our residents on a positive level. It is touching that your church members chose to exhibit their feelings and concerns for public safety officials in this way.” He also noted that officers were especially appreciative of the gesture in the challenging economic climate when they are forced to do more with less.