"Everybody who takes care of me is dead," said a 4-year-old boy as he and his mother walked toward the first Community Heroes Day at Emmaus Public Library.
"It's OK honey, see, not all the firemen are dead," his mom responded.
George DeVault, assistant fire chief for Citizens' Fire Co. in Upper Milford, became choked up, even 10 years later, as he recalled hearing these words from the boy who approached the parking lot on the first night of what has become an annual event in Emmaus - "Community Heroes Day."
On September 11, 2001, Martha Vines, Emmaus's children's librarian, said she overheard a young boy talking to his mom in the library about his fear of no longer being protected after the Twin Towers fell. Vines knew then that something had to be done to assure residents in the community that they were indeed safe.
She, along with Frances Larash, director of Emmaus Public Library, worked with the Emmaus police, fire and ambulance corps to quickly organize an event on Wed., Oct. 3, 2001 to allow Emmaus and Upper Milford residents to meet our local heroes.
Over 450 people attended the first Community Heroes Day, Vines said.
"People just needed to come together, and we haven't stopped doing it. It's an all ages event. We think that's important. The real story is because a little boy said 'everybody who takes care of me is dead,' and we had to prove him wrong," Vines said.