Radiant Light Assembly of God honors Lairdsville Fire Department and EMTs

D. EVERETT SMITH/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Lairdsville Fire Chief Glen Temple, left, and Radiant Light Church Pastor Adam Barnes, shake hands at the end of a dinner the church gave to the members of the fire department thanking them for their service.

LAIRDSVILLE — With temperatures hitting the 90s, a local church recently held an event to say thank-you the Lairdsville Volunteer Fire Department for its dedication, service and sacrifice on the front lawn of the Renn Elementary School.

With children playing in inflatable bounce houses, boxing rings and endurances races while the smell of popcorn filled the air, it was almost a carnival-like atmosphere, but it was rooted in the parishioners from the Radiant Light Church.

Members of the One-18 Movement, a traveling musical group of high schoolers, were on hand to play a unique form of music called “garbonics” — which is making music with garbage cans and old buckets and drum sticks.

The evening was capped off with the film “I Can Only Imagine” on an inflatable movie screen.

Members of the church presented the Lairdsville Fire Department with a string art rendering of two fire axes crossing over a badge with the company’s number, 27, at its center. Beneath this was the Bible verse Isaiah 43:2, handwritten, saying “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flames will not harm you.”

Adam Barnes, pastor of the Radiant Light Church in Muncy, said they did this to say a long over due thank-you to the fire department for its dedication to the surrounding boroughs.

“It had been six years since anyone had honored the Lairdsville Fire Department,” Barnes said. “(The members of the church) decided to say ‘Let’s bless this community!’ “

And they did.

Barnes credits church member Bonnie Lange with organizing the event.

“Someone from our church has family in the Lairdsville Fire Department and they brought it to our attention,” Lange said. “When we found out they had not been honored in six years, we were dumbfounded.”

She said that is when they began planning who would bring what food and asked the fire department to provide the tables and chairs.

Chocolate bars were wrapped with special foils honoring firefighters. Bags of Tootsie Rolls were presented to the firefighters with notes thanking them for the role they play in the community.

Fire Chief Glen Temple said he received word about the event back in April.

“It was kind of unbelievable,” Temple said, adding that he and the company were not expecting this and were honored by the event.

The chief said he hopes this event will help bring awareness to the surrounding towns that volunteers are needed.

“We always need volunteers,” he said.

Temple went on to explain that in 2017 they answered 130 calls with one severe structure fire.

He credits folks in the area for being “fire conscious” but that does not change the need for new members.

Besides honoring the firefighters, other first responders like emergency medical technicians were honored as well.

Christina Hall, a volunteer EMT who attended the event with her children and their dog, said she was thrilled with the church’s acknowledgement.

“It’s a great thing for this community to come together like this,” she said. She echoed previous remarks and said she hopes this inspires more volunteers. Hall said “more interest is needed to keep the local departments alive.”

This will build a safer community, which had been Barnes’s goal.

“Today was a little bit warm, but we are enjoying the importance of recognizing organizations like this and it builds a great sense of community,” Barnes said.