By LILLIAN BONNER
Special to Atmore News
With the last of the turkey and dressing just having been eaten, most have moved on to the Christmas season; but Atmore’s Youth Leadership students wanted to continue in the spirit of giving thanks. On December 4, the group of high school juniors set off with intent to show love and appreciation.
Bright and early, the students filled cars and headed to each of the local first responder stations in both Atmore and Poarch. As the cars pulled into each location, 14 eager and curious faces entered the entryways to offer a heartfelt thank you and a tray of doughnuts. Nine different locations were visited, including Atmore Fire and Rescue, Atmore Police Department, Atmore Ambulance, ASAP Ambulance, MedStar Flight, Escambia County Sheriff’s Dept., Poarch Fire Station 1 and 2, and Poarch Police.
While not all the students were fully sure of what these local men and women do in a day, each of them did know that their services are very much needed and often not celebrated enough. Most people pray that these services will not be needed by them and until they are, what these brave souls offer is often unseen. Each of these individuals serve day and night, putting their own lives in harm’s way for the sake of another person’s life and well-being without any pomp and circumstance. Some of the stories described to the group by the Poarch Fire Department told of devastation and heart break that cannot be unseen. The group toured the inside and outside of a fire truck and were shown the jaws of life apparatus that is used to rescue trapped victims from cars. With that demonstration came a robust safety warning to the students to always wear a seatbelt while in a motor vehicle.
After a morning of giving thanks, the group decided that it was time to spread some Christmas cheer and headed off to Atmore Nursing Center. While visiting with many of the town’s elderly, they shared laughs and assisted with crafts. Each of the students helped to make a Christmas tree and a snowman for the residents to keep. After spending the morning with so many who give consistently to others, the students knew that this was a way that they could give to others as well. Besides, the season is not what matters, it’s what is in the heart.