Wednesday marked the 18th anniversary of 9-11, and members of St. Paul Lutheran Church knew they needed to do something to thank the first responders in Fort Bend County.

Which is why the church moved its annual Coffee with First Responders to Sept. 11 this year.

“We’ve done this five years now,” Outreach Program Chairman Dan Maddox said.

“And this year, we thought it would be appropriate to hold the event on 9-11 to thank the first responders for keeping us safe.

“More than that, we’re commemorating those who served 18 years ago. We just have so much appreciation for the first responders here.”

Maddox said the church outreach program began planning this event two months ago.

“There was actually a lot we had to do,” he explained. “We had to collect the food, prepare goodie bags and go by all the stations in Fort Bend to invite all the first responders here today.”

More than 20 first responders came to interact with one another and the community for Coffee with First Responders.

In attendance were representatives from the constable and sheriff’s departments, Rosenberg firefighters, police officers, EMT and DPS.

“This is my third year attending,” Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Lt. James Ressler said. “It’s great company and great food.”

Before the peace officers, firefighters and EMT dug into the breakfast foods, Rev. Dr. Stephane Kalonji began the morning with a prayer.

“We cannot say thanks enough for all that you do,” Kalonji told the first responders. “We feel safer with you.

“This is an opportunity to show our great appreciation to those who risk their lives every day to protect us.”

Breakfast items included chocolate muffins, blueberry muffins, cookies, chicken minis.

“The best way to the first responders is through their stomachs,” Maddox said. “And that’s all right. It’s the same with me too,” he added with a laugh.

As the first responders trickled out, outreach volunteers offered officers, firefighters and everyone in between a goodie bag with safety glasses.

St. Paul is located at 1208 Fifth St. in Rosenberg.

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