The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

October 29, 2010

Mass sermon: Safety forces ‘do remarkable things’

ASHTABULA —  Ashtabula County’s safety forces were honored and blessed at the annual Blue Mass and Safety Services Awards Ceremony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Thursday evening.

The mass, which was presented by the Knights of Columbus Ashtabula Council No. 360, included hymns, special music, Scripture readings and communion.

“We are privileged to join with the Knights of Columbus to honor our safety forces,” said the Rev. Joseph Ruggieri. “We are here to honor those who keep us safe, as we acknowledge it is our Heavenly Father who keeps us all safe.”

In his sermon, Ruggieri compared safety forces to the 12 men Jesus chose as his disciples.

“Jesus did not choose those men because of special piety or because they had special training or skills, but because after a night of prayer, God told him who to choose, and those men did remarkable things,” he said. “Our safety forces are special ones who are also called forth to do remarkable things among us.”

Ruggieri led the crowd of about 100 people in prayer for safety, strength and courage for the safety forces.

Area safety forces represented at the Mass included the Ashtabula Police Department, Ashtabula Fire Department, Ashtabula Township Fire Department, Saybrook Township Fire Department, Community Care Ambulance, the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Ashtabula County Emergency Management Agency, Ashtabula Municipal Court, Ashtabula Solicitor’s Office, Ashtabula County Prosecutor’s Office and Rome Township Fire Department.

Community Service Awards were presented by Byron Landolfi.

“Each year since 2003, individuals from the various safety jurisdictions within the Ashtabula-area communities have been awarded Community Service Awards,” Landolfi said. “The awards are based on the following: outstanding commitment to community, leaders in the community, civic involvement, and commitment for the common good.”

The Community Service Awards were presented to sheriff’s Detective Lt. Van Robison and to James Gerbasi, paramedic and certified intensive-care provider for Community Care Ambulance.

Two Patriotic Service Awards were presented posthumously in memory of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kevin M. Cornelius who died  in August while serving in Afghanistan, and in memory of Brad T. Ulman, a member of the Ashtabula County Water Rescue Team, who was a victim of accidental drowning this past summer. The awards were presented to their parents.

At the closing of the ceremonies, Ruggieri asked all safety personnel and elected officials to stand for a special prayer blessing.

A public reception followed the Mass.

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