Valleydale Church feeds first responders

Published 10:36 am Thursday, September 22, 2022

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY – Members of Valleydale Church served the community on Saturday, Sept. 17 as they hosted a cookout for first responders.

“We were serving first reponders that cover our area as well as where many of our homes are,” Valleydale Church Life Group Co-leader Mike Ingram said. “We felt the need to recognize many of our first responders.”

The effort was a collaboration between Ingram and the Iglesias Valleydale Pastor Andres Pardo who came up with the idea.

“His idea was to have his congregation and our congregation together to show the first responders that we support them, count on them and to show them the Hispanic population are part of the community,” Ingram said. “It was a real blessing to be able to work together, and the reception from the deputies and the firemen and 911 dispatchers was tremendous.”

First responders from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Shelby County 911, and Cahaba Valley Fire District were present at the cookout.

“We welcomed the opportunity to pray with them and be a blessing to them and they were a blessing in return,” Ingram said. “It was a wonderful day.”

Pastor Andres Pardo also shared his thoughts on the cookout.

“Just to see officers feel welcome in their own place and for us to be able (to) provide lunch for them and to pray for them, there’s a lot of encouragement to do that,” he said. “It was a huge blessing for everybody.”

Captain Mark Bishop commented on his experience with the event.

“The kindness shown by Valleydale and Iglesias was amazing,” he said. “Anytime you have an event like this and it brings together anyone in the community in a more casual setting, I think it helps build trust between first responders and the communities we serve.”

He also emphasized the importance of the presence of 911 dispatchers at the event.

“Often times Shelby County 911 are the unseen first responders,” Bishop said.

He said that he was glad that they made the event in a way where they had an opportunity to participate.

“We really wanted to thank them for that kind blessing they gave our first responders,” Bishop said. “(I) can’t stress enough how nice it was to share that non-crisis moment”