Solemn Salute: Mercedes comes together to pray for first responders

MERCEDES — Community members and city leaders gathered together yesterday at the Mercedes Police Department to pray for first responders and thank them for all they do to keep the city safe.

The police department entrance was lined with American flags. That’s where people stood in unity to support the work of the city’s first responders.

“Today is a day to honor our police department and those who risk their lives every single day, and we never pause to thank them,” said Rene Vega, a Mercedes pastor. “Today, we say thank you.”

Sons of the American Legion Commander Alonzo Calvillo had a conversation with Vega last week about the recent police shootings happening across the country.

Vega told Calvillo it would be great if the city came together to do something for the first responders, to let them know how they are appreciated and to thank them for their hard work in keeping the city safe.

Calvillo, a former city commissioner and longtime political activist, said they should organize an event.

And yesterday, it happened, with the help of the city of Mercedes and American Legion Post 172.

The ceremony, called Prayer First, was a community gathering with first responders to acknowledge their work, bravery and commitment to keeping the community safe.

Vega addressed the crowd of more than 50 people and made a commitment to pray for the men and women who risk their lives every day.

Other pastors who also were in attendance were Pastor Juan De Los Santos, Pastor Ubaldo Jacques and Pastor Lori De Los Santos.

Mercedes Mayor Henry Hinojosa called the ceremony a “big thank you” to the city’s first responders.

“Our police, firefighters and EMS are always in harm’s way,” Hinojosa said.

He said the short meetings to make the event happen worked, and the community showed up with short notice.

State Rep. Armando Martinez also addressed the audience.

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