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2017-02-15 / Arts & Entertainment

Serving Those Who Serve Us

By Patty Lollot


NHCC volunteers posed for a photo while preparing an appreciation dinner for members of the Walton, Trout Creek and Delhi fire departments and emergency medical services members at the Walton Fire Hall on Friday, Feb. 10. 
Patty Lollot/The Reporter NHCC volunteers posed for a photo while preparing an appreciation dinner for members of the Walton, Trout Creek and Delhi fire departments and emergency medical services members at the Walton Fire Hall on Friday, Feb. 10. Patty Lollot/The Reporter WALTON - Almost 100 firefighters and emergency medical service personnel from Walton, Trout Creek and Delhi were honored with a full course dinner at the Walton Fire Hall on Friday evening, Feb. 10, compliments of members and friends of the New Hope Community Church (NHCC). “This was the second year that we showed appreciation to these members of the community,” said Rich Celli, who initiated the idea a year ago.

Last year, after seeing the movie “Fireproof,” Celli said he and his wife, Marie, felt compelled to do something for “those who put their lives on the line each day.”

With the blessings and help of the church family, Celli spearheaded the first dinner and this year he gives much of the organizational credit to Tim and Kim LaTourette, Butch and Linda Frank, Denise Jackson and Bill and Missy Angevine.

A full-course ham dinner highlighted this year’s event, and Celli said that it was supplied with donations of food and funds. “Deb Ackerly donated five hams, and Wilma Hannon donated all the mashed potatoes,” he noted. Other donations of side dishes, desserts and beverages rounded out the dinner. “The firemen were unbelievably grateful.”

In attendance at the event was Walton Mayor Ed Snow, a former New York Police Department detective, who said, “I know how important these people are from experience,” he explained. “While the police would run into bullets, these firefighters would run into fire, most of them doing it as volunteers.” He added, “It was really a wonderful gesture on behalf of the NHCC to show appreciation to these members of our community.”

NHCC Pastor Larry Light said, “The church family wanted to recognize these individuals for their amazing service in their communities. It is deeply appreciated and valued.”

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