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Holy Rosary Catholic School honor first responders

Holy Rosary Catholic School in Idaho Falls held its annual heroes lunch.

Most of us can remember or know the importance of 9/11, but anyone 18 years or younger, it may not be that simple.

Holy Rosary Catholic School hoped to change that with its heroes lunch.

On Wednesday, the school invited all departments with first responders in the Idaho Falls community to join the students during their afternoon lunch.

Carina Vanpelt, principal of Holy Rosary Catholic School, said: “We do this every year on Sept. 11. As adults, we know why this day is important but our kids don’t really know why because this happened 18 years ago. The most important reason why we do this is to say thank you. We don’t get enough chances or opportunities to tell these people who keep us safe thank you.”

The school day started with morning Mass where students had a chance to pray for first responders and learn about the sacrifice they make for the community.

Students say they have gained a stronger appreciation for these heroes.

Elise Joe, a sixth grader at Holy Rosary, said, “I am very thankful that they have defined us to their best ability. They have done such a great job. It feels amazing to have lunch with first responders who are a part of saving people.”​​​​​​​

Henry Ross, another sixth grader at Holy Rosary, said, “It was nice eating with these first responders and getting to know them. It’s comforting to know that we have such good people on our side.”

Firefighters, paramedics, police officers and sheriffs are grateful to have a chance to make these connections with the young students.

Paul Wilde, sheriff for Bonneville County, said: “The respect that is shown and the appreciation is always great. The kids are wonderful. We have such great conversation for lunch, and we just have a lot of fun with them.”

Royce Clements, a captain in the Idaho Falls Police Department, said: “I haven’t missed a year yet. I really enjoy coming here. It’s a real honor to have these kids honor the profession that we do and what we represent. Whenever you see the excitement in their faces it just makes it worthwhile.”

First responders who attended the lunch thanked Holy Rosary Catholic School for giving them this memorable opportunity.

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