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Cover2By Darwin Campbell, African-American News&Issues

Photo Credit: Walter C. Williams, Jr

HOUSTON – It was a time to pay tribute to the ones who hit the streets when the 911 call goes out for everything from cats in trees to car wrecks to four-alarm blazes.

The 7th Annual Fireman’s Appreciation Dinner did just that June 16 with a special dinner held at Station 31 and sponsored by the  Independence Heights SuperNeighborhood #13, War on Drugs, East Sunset Heights Association and Sunset Heights.

“This is the community’s way to say thank you to the firefighters who serve and protect us on a daily basis,” said Natasha Johnson, President of Independence Heights Super Neighborhood #13. “We honor  them each year in appreciation, but this year we focused on  those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.”

This was the second year that we also celebrated the lives of our fallen firefighters:

Those named among the fallen were:

Captain EMT Matthew Renaud Station 51

Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee Station 51

Firefighter EMT Robert Garner Station 68

Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan Station 68

Fire service first came to Independence Heights in the 1940s. The old Station 31 still stands on Cross Timbers in the community, but today houses a museum of art.

“We are glad the building still exists,” Johnson said. “Its preservation serves a reminder of our history in this community.”

During the ceremony, State Sen. John Whitmire had some words of encouragement for firefighters and the community that supported them.

“Firefighters provide a vital service to this community,” Whitmire told the group. “We join this community is thanking them for putting their lives on the line and being there for us.”

The appreciation dinner for the Fireman also honored firemen from the Fire stations 13, 15, 31, 34, 30 and 58. All stations were in attendance and we served all the firefighter and community .

The menu for the event included BBQ Chicken and Sausage ( Prepared by Original Burns BBQ), Beans, Potato salad, Tea,Water and many desserts.

Guests included: Senator John Whitmire, State Representative Sylvester Turner, Constable Alan Rosen, Precinct One Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee, Michael Kubosh and Jack Christie

The food was blessed by Pastor Keith Desso Douglas, His Way Baptist Church.

The dinner is also supported by Sen. Whitmire,  Rep. Sylvester Turner, Councilman C.O. Bradford, Councilman Ed Gonzalez, Constable Alan Rosen Precinct One, Can Do Houston, Neighborhood Center Inc, Krafts by Shelia, Rephlektive Shots, Yale Street Baptist Church and the Independence Heights Real Estate Management LLC.