The seventh annual First Responders' Breakfast will be held Monday morning in honor of emergency services personnel and in remembrance of the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The event, hosted by the Knights of Columbus Council 6419, St. Mary of the Springs Catholic Church, and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, will held from 6-9 a.m. Monday at St. Mary's, 100 Central Ave.
For the first time, this year's breakfast will be open to the public, in addition to the non-denominational prayer service that will be held from 7:30-8 a.m. honoring all first responders in Garland County.
"We've got really great first responders here in Garland County and in Hot Springs," said Justice of the Peace Dayton Myers, founder and chairman of the event.
"We do the breakfast every year as a way to honor them and just a little way to show a token of appreciation for all of our men and women that I consider to be our local heroes."
Organizers are prepared to serve about 1,000 at the come-and-go breakfast. Myers says between 500-1,000 are served at the event annually. Much of the food is picked up and taken to those on duty at the various agencies around the county, but he says for those who have time, the prayer service is "quite moving."
Hot Springs Chief Ed Davis will perform a bell ceremony at 7:46 a.m., the time in Central Standard Time at which the first tower was struck on 9/11, Myers said.
Historically, a fire bell is rung to let firemen know it's time to return to the station, according to Myers. Davis rings the fire bell three times at the ceremony followed by a moment of silence.
"When he rings the bell those three times there in the church, it's a sign that the first responders who gave their lives on 9/11 have given their final call back home to heaven," he said.
An issue close to Myers' heart, he says it's the least that he and the Knights of Columbus can do for the first responders who do so much for the communities they serve.
"It's really something I'm passionate about because of what these men and women do daily for us," he said. "Putting their lives on the line, whether it be responding to a fire or going out to a hostage situation, or whatever it might be. These men and women protect us, serve us and save lives almost every day."
Despite having to wake up extremely early to begin preparing meals at 3 a.m., Myers says it's worth it to let those on the frontlines know that we appreciate their hard work.
"You have people of all different faiths there, of all different backgrounds united to support our first responders," said Myers. "These first responders, most of the time people don't go out of their way to show appreciation for them, so I encourage everybody that can make it ... to come out and show our support for these men and women."