corona badges

Father Anthony Recker with All Saints Catholic Church in Rossford blesses first responders during a “Blessing of the Badges” Tuesday morning.

ROSSFORD — First responders were reminded that they are not alone in this time of crisis.

A “Blessing of the Badges” was held Tuesday for all area first responders including police, firefighters and EMTs.

Father Anthony Recker, pastor at All Saints Catholic Church, led the prayer.

“Now is the time of anxiety, so we certainly want them to know that God’s with them during this time,” he said.

About 40 emergency vehicles drove into the church parking lot for the blessing.

As Recker prayed, the vehicles flashed their lights, illuminating the Lime City Road parking lot. Recker moved among the patrol cars, ambulances and fire trucks, sprinkling holy water.

“We have police, fire, EMS coming together to remind the community that no matter what happens, we are all going to be here to serve them,” Recker said.

His message to the community is even though most churches are closed, prayer is needed.

“Obviously God is not limited to the fact that we can’t come together right now and pray, so I encourage them to spend time in prayer. That’s the best anecdote to anxiety I think right now, and also to know our first responders are out there and we’re asking God’s blessings upon them and they are with us when we need them.”

The first responder community came together to remind citizens that we’re here to serve them, said Sgt. Ryan Purpura with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“It’s really a great showing,” he said. “This is great. We have all these different agencies here. First responders —police, fire, EMS. Everyone’s come together to remind the community that no matter what happens, we’re all going to be here to serve.”

Rossford, Perrysburg Township, Maumee, Bowling Green, Washington Township and Whitehouse agencies were represented, among others.

Rossford Police Chief Todd Kitzler said he appreciated the positive message.

His department has modified some services, such as not allowing people to enter the station. All of his officers are healthy.

“Other than that, it’s business as usual,” Kitzler said.

His advice to stay safe is to follow the governor’s and health department’s directives.

“We’ll get through this,” he said.

Purpura said that the patrol officers are following standard precautions with washing hands and social distancing.

“Things are different right now,” he said.

Traffic has slimmed, which is good as people not go out unless absolutely necessary.