Canal Heights church of Christ holds dinners to honor first responders

Members of the Canal Heights church of Christ along with members of the Demopolis Police Department and their families.

Members of the Canal Heights church of Christ along with members of the Demopolis Police Department and their families.

The Canal Heights church of Christ is in the process of showing its appreciation for local first responders. The congregation, located on Walnut Avenue across from McDonald’s, hosted the Demopolis Police Department and its families last Saturday evening for a barbecue dinner.

““In the meeting that we had at the first of the year, Haywood (Mayton) mentioned having the dinner,” Mike Swims, preacher of the Canal Heights church of Christ, said. “That was about the time when things were really beginning to head up against law enforcement.”

Canal Heights church of Christ preacher Mike Swims alongside Demopolis Police Department Chief Tommie Reese.

Canal Heights church of Christ preacher Mike Swims alongside Demopolis Police Department Chief Tommie Reese.

The idea came about as an expounding upon a dinner the congregation annually holds for the Demopolis High football program.

“You and your congregation showed our department and family members the spirit of love in your giving,“ Demopolis Police Department Chief Tommie Reese wrote to the Canal Heights congregation on Facebook. “Your kindness was just what we needed in such a critical time in law enforcement to see our hometown show appreciation to the men and women who put their lives on the line day after day keeping the city safe. I am truly touched by your generosity, your spirit, and willingness to go out of your way for us. You are a real friend and we are indeed grateful to have you ahs one of our partners.”

Swims said the feedback from those who took part in the dinner has been tremendous.

“They’ve expressed on social media how much they’ve appreciated it, even the families,” Swims said. “Sometimes it’s real easy to overlook the families in showing our appreciation for these individuals. But a family doesn’t sacrifice any less. I thanked them for loaning us their loved ones because they do so with an unwritten understanding that we really need them.”

The congregation plans to do the same for the Demopolis Fire Department this week.

Swims, who previously worked as a police officer, emphasized the importance of expressing gratitude to first responders.

“I know from firsthand experience it is a very thankless job,” Swims said. “People don’t call you win they’ve won the lottery. They call you when life has gotten so far out of hand that they can’t deal with their own lives anymore. So, we wanted to show them that at least Canal Heights stands behind them.”

Members of the DPD who attended the barbecue dinner at Canal Heights church of Christ along with their families.

Members of the DPD who attended the barbecue dinner at Canal Heights church of Christ along with their families.