MOUNT DESERT — First responders from across Mount Desert Island and several surrounding towns attended a lunch in their honor at the Somesville Fire Station Sept. 11, the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
MDI Hospital hosted the event.
“We honor you for your tireless, courageous efforts on behalf of our community,” Ray Chalifour, the hospital’s vice president of physician practices and ancillary services, told the firefighters and law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel. “No matter the situation, no matter the time, you are always prepared and you are there. We are so lucky to live in a community that truly comes together to take care of its own.”
Chalifour said the critical importance of first responders was highlighted by the Sept. 2 fire that destroyed the Portside Grill on Cottage Street in Bar Harbor.
“Nine primarily volunteer fire departments responded to the fire, along with EMS and other first responders,” he said. “Because of their efforts, there were no casualties, and the fire was prevented from spreading to other buildings.”
Portside Grill owner Vicki Hall expressed her gratitude to those who responded to the fire.
“‘Thank you’ doesn’t even seem close to how I really feel,” she said. “And the fact that so many of you are volunteers is just so extraordinary. You put your lives on the line for the benefit of others without even giving it a second thought.
“I realized that I really didn’t comprehend the meaning of the word ‘hero’ until I had experienced your remarkable, heroic efforts directly and personally.”
In addition to first responders from towns on and around MDI, Acadia National Park rangers, MDI Search and Rescue volunteers and U.S. Coast Guards personnel attended the lunch.
McKay’s Public House in Bar Harbor donated the food.