Crothersville FFA serves dinner to first responders



Working alongside Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department personnel as a cadet, Brayden Crater has gotten a feel for what the job entails.

Firefighters may be pulled away from their jobs or families to respond to vehicle fires, structure fires, wrecks, medical situations and other emergencies.

Other times, they can be found serving food during fundraisers, teaching fire safety during fire prevention week, going through safety training and helping deliver items for the annual Crothersville FFA Toy and Food Drive at Christmastime.

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On Tuesday night, as a member of Crothersville FFA, Crater was able to give back and show appreciation to the men and women who serve the community with the fire or police department or Jackson County Emergency Medical Services.

A first responders dinner was conducted for the first time after FFA members had hosted a breakfast on Patriot Day the past two years.

“I’ve seen what they do when they get calls. It kind of takes a toll on them, so it’s good for them to get together,” said Crater, an eighth grader at Crothersville Junior-Senior High School. “Now that I know more of just how hard it is to do what they do, the respect goes up with that.”

Crater was among five FFA members who were available to assist adviser Linda Myers and her son, Derrick Maxie, serve the meal, which consisted of tacos and all of the toppings, refried beans, rice and drinks and brownies and ice cream for dessert.

Nearly a dozen local first responders stopped by the fire station on Moore Street to enjoy the meal.

“Really, to me, they do so much for us,” FFA member and eighth grader Elijah Plasse said. “They really support clubs in general and FFA, so it’s a good time to give back, especially this time with 9/11 to remember service. They are really just protecting and serving our community.”

Jalen Gibson, an FFA member and sophomore, echoed those thoughts.

“It’s another way to show what we do in FFA and how we give back to our community,” he said. “They do so much for us.”

This past year has been rough for Gibson with family members dealing with medical emergencies, and he said it meant a lot to him to serve those who took care of his family.

“I’ve seen what they do, like how fast they get there, and so I just really appreciate what they do,” he said.

The students come from a generation born after the deadliest terrorist act in world history that occurred 18 years ago.

On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists crashed two hijacked planes into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, and later in the morning, planes crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

That day, 2,996 people were killed, and more than 6,000 were injured. Among those who died were 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers.

Crothersville Police Department officers John Amis and Alan Jones both remember what they were doing when the world stopped turning that September day.

“I was actually in sixth grade walking past the library (at school),” Amis said. “The teachers were all standing around the TV that we had near the library. They were watching everything happen. It was just craziness. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Jones said he was standing in an airplane hangar in Louisville, Kentucky, at that time 18 years ago.

“I think everybody was crying, and I was fresh out of high school, so I really didn’t know what to process,” he said. “I was in shock, like ‘Is this real?'”

In sixth grade, Amis said he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do as a career in the future. It was after 9/11 that he made that decision.

“It kind of made me realize I do enjoy helping people, and I’ve always wanted to make a difference, so I figured I could help with that going into the police force,” he said.

Jones joined the U.S. Army, as many Americans were inspired to enter the military to fight back against the terrorists, start a job in the medical field or join a fire or police department.

Both officers said it’s good to see the FFA members take the time to organize the first responders meal and show appreciation for what they deal with on a daily basis.

“It’s very much appreciated,” Jones said.

“It means a lot them showing their appreciation for all of us,” Amis said. “They get to see it firsthand how the police respond, how the fire responds, how the EMS responds. I think it shows how much we care about the community, and it shows how much they care about us.”

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