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Lanett Junior High students took the leading role in treating the City of Lanett’s first responders to lunch in the Lanett High cafeteria Tuesday morning. From front left: Firefighter Brian Owens, Chief Johnny Allen, Firefighters Matt Shiver and Caleb Gregory, Capt. Jamie Heard and Firefighter Matt Thompson. - Wayne Clark

Lanett Middle honors first responders

By Wayne Clark

LANETT — Students who were born in the year 2001 are now in high school. They didn’t live through the horror of 9-11 the way older Americans did but they have learned what a sad day it was for our country and know the importance of showing some heartfelt appreciation not only for those who died that day but for the first responders who put their lives on the line every day in serving and protecting the local community.

On Tuesday morning, Lanett Junior High students played a leading role in honoring local heroes when they hosted the city’s first responders for an 11 a.m. lunch in the LHS cafeteria. Each police officer and firefighter paramedic present received a card from a student and a “Thank you!” from the entire group.

Ironically, an emergency call came in while they were eating, and Lanett’s finest were in their vehicles and back to work quickly.

“We really appreciate this,” said Fire Chief Johnny Allen moments before the call came in. “It’s great to be here today and to have lunch with the students. It’s good to be appreciated.”

“It’s an honor and a blessing to be here,” said Chief Johnny Wood. “We have great relationships with the teachers, staff and students here at the high school and junior high.”

The first responders present were touched by a large banner saluting them as heroes. It was signed by many of the students.

“It’s an honor for us to be hosting our heroes today,” Child Nutrition Program Director Laura Hartley. “The junior high students did a great job today. They want to show appreciation for what our first responders do for all of us every day.”

A total of 2,996 people died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. More than 6,000 additional people were injured. More than $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage took place that day.

Sept. 11th, 2001 was also the single deadliest day for firefighters and police officers in U.S. history as a total of 343 firefighters and 72 police officers lost their lives that day