Members from Nashville First Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church volunteered this past Saturday morning, Sept. 11, to distribute breakfast across local fire stations. The gesture, idea of pastor Nelson Mercado, was made as way to thank firefighters for their service and honor the memory of the 9/11 first responders.
Prior to becoming a pastor, Mercado served as a firefighter and paramedic from 1997 to 2008. Mercado says that this connection inspired him to search ways for his church to reach the first responders’ community.
“I spoke to my personal ministry’s leader, and I told him about wanting to do something special for the [firefighters] in our community,” Mercado said. “He loved the idea. So, we told a few people and recruited a few helpers.”
A group of nine volunteers drove around Nashville delivering a variety of Panera bagels and cheese cream to a total of fifteen fire stations. More than 200 bagels were distributed. Inside each bag, organizers also included copies of Steps to Christ.
Mercado says the firefighters he spoke with were thankful for the food and the kind gesture; he hopes to make this a yearly tradition. In the future, Mercado also wants Nashville First SDA Church to prepare a special meal for police officers
“This was just a small token of appreciation,” Mercado said. “I can tell you, having worked as a firefighter and a paramedic, that unless something drastic happens, like at the events of September 11, it is a thankless job. And so, again, this is just a small way of showing our gratitude.”