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The District on Howard in Biloxi honors first responders

Published: Sep. 11, 2021 at 7:06 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - As we remember, thousands of Americans lost their lives on this very day 20 years ago, as well as the first responders who’ve risked theirs.

The District on Howard in Biloxi wanted to say thank you in a special way. The organization fed first responders hot dogs, hamburgers, snow cones, and chips free of charge.

The group invited the public out to buy plates for $10 while enjoying live music.

The director of development of the district on Howard Avenue, Bobby Gillon, wanted to organize the event considering he’s from a right area outside of New York City.

He said that 9/11 still affects him to this day, as well as many others, and they can’t believe that America has reached the 20th anniversary of the tragic event.

Gillon figured it would be best to honor those who’ve lost their lives, as well as those who risk their lives to protect the community.

“9/11 really hits home for me 20 years ago. When I moved down here and I found a community—it really affected them as well, it surprised me. So that has just been a date that I just wanted to do for the first responders here and it landed on a Saturday, so it worked out.”

Gillon explained that the purpose of hosting the event downtown was due to how much the need has increased for first responders in the area.

“These are the folks that have been taking care of us, especially in this late year and for a very long time, especially downtown,” said Gillon. ‘The police department and the fire department has really taken care of this community and we just want to say thank you.”

Assistant Police Chief Christopher Deback has been with the department for over 20 years.

Deback said that the shift in the climate of his job was extremely noticeable once planes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, causing turmoil for the nation.

“First responders, in general, have taken different roles since 9/11. We’ve improved our community involvement, I think. Of course, the community has come out to support a lot more of law enforcement, fire departments and hospitals,” said Deback.

Deback said that he’s honored to serve a community that makes efforts to show appreciation for first responders.

“We’re here to serve the public. We are the community; the community is us and without them it would be hard to do our job,” said Deback. “Events like this, and events Gulfport like the Blessing of the Badges, it shows so much support for us and brings us together as one.”

Organizers said that all of the proceeds will go to the Biloxi Police Department and the Biloxi Fire Museum.

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