LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- A local middle school went out of its way to make sure Louisville's first responders felt the love. Wednesday morning, Nativity Academy held a special appreciation ceremony for the city's police, fire and EMS departments.
Several students gave speeches and passed out cookies and thank you notes.
“There are heroes that walk among us, never looking for glory or praise. They don’t seek recognition for their thoughtful, caring ways,” student speaker Ja’Shonti Moore said.
“The next time I hear sirens in the distance, I won’t only say a prayer for the victims and their families, I will also say a prayer for you,” student speaker Tyeisha Howard said.
“Thank you for serving our communities, and thank you for being our heroes,” student speaker Kurtis Cotten III said.
The first responders also visited with the 90 plus students to get to know them a little better.
“Seeing individuals or young individuals that are on the right path makes me understand that my job is worthwhile, and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” LMPD officer Michael Abernathy said.
A handshake and a quick conversation may seem simple, but for both parties involved, it's a whole lot more.
“It means a whole lot to have a young crowd of individuals want to show their support and appreciation. It’s just an outpouring of love that we can’t get enough of. It keeps us motivated in everything that we do, and it reminds us why we do what we do,” Abernathy said.
“You don’t see a lot of people just going out and, like, just giving back to EMS, police officers and firefighters. They risk their lives every day, and we don’t really do anything back for them. So, it’s big,” student speaker Blake Ruffin said. “You can tell by how they were smiling and how they were looking at us that they feel good because they don’t usually get this. I want to start this for other schools to do this and just give back to police officers, firefighters and ambulance. Show your love just for other people.”
Nativity does a service project like this every year, but wanted to focus on showing gratitude to a group that's not always appreciated. Leaders there said many of the students don't get the chance to interact with first responders outside of negative situations in their neighborhoods.
Louisville’s first responders are always ready to answer the call no matter how dangerous or upsetting it may be, but it's requests like this that stick extra close to the heart.
“To be able to have any positive interaction with anybody is purely amazing because we get exposed to people at their worst. Anytime somebody calls for us, it’s for bad things. So, to be called for something positive is always amazing,” Abernathy said.
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