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Honoring Service above Self

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Rotary Club honors area first responders during 9-11 Commemoration

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CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake honored area first responders from local fire and police departments in the lake area during a “Service above Self” Ceremony on Sept. 11 in honor of all the men and women who rushed toward danger that fateful day 19 years ago. They left families behind as they rushed into danger that others were fleeing. That same spirit of sacrifice is alive each day in the men and women of our local first responder units who serve every day to keep us safe.
“Service above Self” was officially chosen as the motto for Rotary in 1989 because it most exemplified unselfish volunteer service, Assistant District Governor Andrea Pickens told the assembly. “Today you can see the commitment of the Cedar Creek Rotary Club to our community,” Pickens said as she named some of the projects the club does every year including the Klothes for Kids Project that last year provided clothing for 150 area children for the Fall and Winter season. She also spoke of supporting local food pantries, scholarships, libraries and much more.
Pickens went on to describe how first responders rush in, ignoring danger to themselves to keep us all safe as exemplary of the motto, “Service above Self.” The entire crowd erupted into applause as she led thanks to all the first responders. Each of the representative departments were given a certificate and a donation that was raised by the members of the club.
Payne Springs Fire Rescue Chief Adam Robinson was the guest speaker. Robinson has been a volunteer firefighter for 26 years, the last seven with Payne Springs. “Service above Self is something that really hits home with me,” Robinson said, recounting his experience during 9-11 when he was deployed in Italy. He said as he watched the events unfold, he knew war was imminent. “The firefighter side of me was incredibly sad because as I watched the towers fall, I knew firefighters and officers were dead.” He explained that the television was the only source of news since telephone lines were jammed and it was nearly impossible to even get an email home to check on family members.
Robinson spoke of a popular photo of FDNY Ladder 118 headed across the Brooklyn Bridge with the towers burning in the background. “They were rushing into the scariest scene and to me, that is Service above Self.” Robinson added that it is something he sees every day in his fellow first responders as they rush to help, not knowing the extent of the dangers they face. 
Robinson gave a charge to those in the group over 40 to make sure the younger generation gains an understanding of what happened 19 years ago. “Tell the stories of what happened, how it affected you in a personal way to this digital generation. Tell the stories of those who lost their lives, the families that were affected and those who continue to lose their lives in service.,” Robinson said.
Robinson closed with thanking the volunteers and the families who also sacrifice, watching their loved ones leave the safety of home to protect others, sometimes not returning home.
Mabank High School senior Riley Thompson performed patriotic songs that told of sacrifice made to serve others.

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