Callaway honors First Responders

Pastor Roger Gillming wears more than one uniform. He is the pastor of the Callaway United Methodist Church, and he is also a a first responder and fireman. Sunday, Sept. 11, the United Methodist, St. Boniface Catholic and Lutheran churches joined together for a service honoring area first responders, the Custer County Sheriff’s office and the area men and women currently serving in the Armed Services. Gillming wore his blue first responder shirt, and a tie. He said this was the first and last time anyone would see him in that shirt, and a tie. “On 9/11, I went to the office and turned on the TV. This was unusual. I usually don’t do that... He said he didn’t understand what was going on, but did understand that this was a tragedy. “Nothing will remove the sites and sounds we heard and wittnessed,” he said, but what it is important to think about what we want to remember. “First - the cost in human lives. This was the most devastating attack on Americal soil. We need to not forget the lives of those who died, and of those whose lives were forever changed. “Second - we must not forget the heroism that took place that day. We had first responders who, when everyone else was running out of the building were running up the stairs.” Gillming said that he felt that the Chaplain of the New York City Fire Department was called home first so that he could be there to greet his fellow firemen in heaven as they came home that day. “Third - We need to remember we do not live forever. We have today. There is no guarentee of tomorrow. We need to make today count... “Fourth - Yes, on that day our lives were changed. We experienced an attack on our own soil. It serves to remind us of the source of our refuge and strength ... Our hope is in our God.” He went on to talk about our service men and women who answered the call to serve in the Armed Forces. “Many have given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives,” he said. And then asked the congregation to pause for a moment of silence to remember these heroes and their families. He also asked folks to remember those who are still serving and who continue to put their lives in harms way. He talked about saying thanks, and that it would be nice for the community to hold a banquet honoring their local first reponders in order to say thank you. “When the fire call comes in at 2 a.m. it doesn’t just wake the fireman, it wakes the entire family.” First responders who were present were introduced, and free will offering was collected to go toward a dinner in their honor.