Gov. Scott honors Northshire first responders

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Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has proclaimed Oct. 28 as Northshire First Responders Appreciation Day upon request by the Interfaith Council of the Northshire.

The Rev. Jim Gray, pastor of the United Church of Dorset and East Rupert who is also chairman of the Interfaith Council of the Northshire, said the work of first responders needs to be recognized.

"We are continually impressed by the abiding commitment of our neighbors to serve our communities' needs, oftentimes as volunteers," Gray said in a news release. "These selfless individuals make themselves available 24 hours a day, whether at times of tragedy or in response to emergencies. Their dedication to public safety deserves our abiding appreciation."

In a news release, the Interfaith Council said the date, Oct. 28, coincides with an effort to make this a national day of recognition after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Despite Congressional action, no national day of recognition has been established. With Governor Scott's signing of the Interfaith Council's proclamation, Vermont becomes the second state in the nation (after Colorado) to take state-specific action.

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During the preceding weekend, area houses of worship will honor the "heroic, community-minded citizens at their worship services."

Scott said the first responders left him in awe.

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"I've always been in awe of those who put themselves in harm's way and risk their lives to protect others," Scott said in a statement. "When most of us see a threat, we run from it. But members of our military, first responders and law enforcement officers run towards it."

The proclamation states, in part, that first responders', "courageous and selfless concern for others and the duty to protect and serve are commonly held values among first responders; and first responders risk their own safety and well-being in the performance of their duties to protect Vermonters."

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The proclamation says the state, "at the request of the Interfaith Council of the Northshire in Bennington County, thanks each and every first responder for their invaluable and selfless contributions to communities across our beloved State and wishes to honor them for their abiding service."

Scott said issuing the proclamation was an honor.

"It's an honor to recognize these brave first responders in the Northshire area with this proclamation," Scott said. First responders and their families are invited to attend services Oct. 27 or the Jewish Shabbat service Friday, Oct. 25.

Participating houses of worship include the United Church of Dorset and East Rupert (10 am), First Baptist Church (10:30 a.m.), Zion Episcopal Church (8 a.m. and 10 a.m.), Federated Church of East Arlington (10 a.m.), First Congregational Church of Manchester (8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.), St. Paul Christ Our Savior (8 a.m. and 10 a.m.), Congregational Church of Rupert (10:30 a.m.), and Israel Congregation of Manchester (6:30 p.m.). Many clergy will address the valuable roles that both volunteer and career first responders play and will recognize those in attendance. For information, contact the Dorset Church at 867-2260.


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