WASKOM — “Every time you see that ambulance go out, every time you hear the fire truck, know that they’re going to help somebody; pray for the people they’re going to help, and pray for those men and women that will be encountering who knows what,” James Runnels, chaplain of ESD No. 3 in Scottsville requested as he participated in a community-wide prayer service, held in Waskom Tuesday.

The prayer service, hosted by Pastor Doug Lovett of Faith Baptist Church, offered prayer for law enforcement, first responders, the military and America.

“Our land is in desperate need of healing and there’s such division,” Waskom City Secretary Tammy Lofton said.

Citing the Bible verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Lofton asked for a special anointing over local police officers.

“I thank God for these men,” she said as she called each member of the Waskom Police Department by name, starting with Waskom Police Chief Westy Meseinheimer.

“Start praying and interceding for them,” she admonished community members. “We’ve got to gather together as a community to stand strong over our city.”

In addition to prayers, the crowd was blessed with patriotic songs as Donnie Hooten and Family serenaded the crowd with a harmonious rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Flags waved as Linda Temple performed a sign language to “God Bless the USA” and eyes gazed as Chris Ebarb and Melissa Shows sang “Amazing Grace.”

As Lovett expressed thanks to local law enforcement, first responders and military men and women, he reflected on the nation’s freedoms.

“Can you think of a better place to live than the United States of America, and to think that it’s going the way that it is and our heroes are under search fire?” he asked. “It’s gotta disillusion you. It’s gotta make you think why good is being called bad, bad is being called good. Why things are upside down.”

The pastor charged fellow Christians to take a stand and pray.

“The fault lies at our feet, Christians,” said Lovett. “We haven’t taken a stand. We haven’t been out in the forefront. We haven’t marched. We haven’t knocked on doors. We haven’t sacrificed.

“We’ve enjoyed the freedom that the police officers and the first responders and the military have given us and have laid back; and it’s high time that Christians stand up and say that Jesus Christ is Lord,” the pastor said.

Saying a special prayer over firefighters and first responders, Runnels with Emergency Services District No. 3 in Scottsville expressed how glad he was to be a part of the service.

“We know a lot of these guys in Waskom because they’re always helping us; we’re always helping them,” he said. “We’re glad to be here. We’re so excited about what you’re doing here and the message that you have for these folks. Every year we honor our first responders at the Marshall Chamber of Commerce. It never fails. They’re called out, and hundreds of guys, they get up and go.”

“They do an amazing job,” he said of all firefighters, including volunteers. “One thing you can do, you can pray for them.”

Waskom Police Chief Westy Meisenheimer said he’s been in law enforcement for three decades, and have never seen a time of unrest such as this.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for 35 years, went to school in Waskom, and lived in this community nearly all my life. I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs, good times, bad times, I’ve seen a lot come and go,” the police chief said. “We’ve always had extra community support, but I’ve never imagined the world would be where it is now and I never in my wildest imagination (would’ve thought) that law enforcement would be under attack the way it is now.

“It’s beyond belief; but there again, I’ve got to say we’ve got a great support here,” he said, sharing how grateful he is for the community. “We’re ready to move forward. It’s going to be alright because of that.”