Fire Captain Mike Beran and Fire Fighter Specialist Ted Saraf are recognized by the Gardena Torrance Baptist Church. Photos courtesy Laura Walters.
by Laura Walters
The Gardena Torrance Baptist Church recognized Fire Captain Mike Beran and Fire Fighter Specialist Ted Saraf of Fire Station 158 on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“It means a lot,” said Battalion Chief Brian Askari. “Even though 9/11 didn’t affect us here, it affected the fire service, and our hearts go out to the people that lost loved ones. (This recognition) makes us feel good, and it’s really appreciated.”
Church members worked hard to show the Los Angeles County Fire Department their appreciation. They assembled baskets with fruit, snacks and gifts for the firefighters. Prayer teams prayed over the firefighters and blessed them to recognize the terror attacks’ 15th anniversary.
“We want to show appreciation for our local firefighters to remember 9/11 and thank our firefighters,” said one of the church members.
Saraf said that firefighters are on duty a third of the year, so they miss a lot of holidays and family events.
“The appreciation goes a long way,” he said. “What we do is very stressful and a very tough job. To see that we get support from our community that recognizes the hard work that we do—it’s pretty nice.”
Christopher Codrington, the church’s pastor, said people often forget first responders and take the service and protection they provide for granted.
“Sometimes we don’t realize they put their lives on the line for us every day,” he said. “It’s important to honor firefighters, EMTs and police on 9/11 because of those who went out into the field to serve and protect, even though they knew they might not make it home.
“They gave it their service and they laid down their lives for us.”
“We enjoy protecting the community,” said Askari. “It’s nice for this church to recognize us as firefighters. It’s something we look forward to coming to.”
Acting Assistant Fire Chief Scott Hale said it’s nice to interact with members of the community when they aren’t hurt or in distress. The job can be challenging because first responders often deal with people when they are at their worst, he said.
The firefighters were thankful the church showed support by providing lunch and blessings. They admitted the job can take a lot of their time, but it’s absolutely something that makes them feel proud.
“It’s nice to know that the public supports us in a positive way,” they said. “It definitely makes our job easier.”