PATERSON, NJ - More than two year after flames and smoke caused extensive damage to Christ Temple Baptist Church, members of the Paterson Fire Department were back on the scene Sunday. This visit, however, coming on Easter Sunday, was more celebratory in nature.
"We are thankful to the firefighters that responded that day," Rev Dr. Weldon McWilliams IV told TAPinto Paterson. “What they do, what they sacrifice, we want our children to see that,” he said, referring to the visitors, which also included three officers from the Prospect Park Police Department, as "role models."
McWilliams' comments came just minutes after the firefighters, arriving in a large engine truck, were greeted by about two dozen children whom were each given a special Easter bag filled with goodies, all donated by Paterson FMBA Local 2, the union that represents the city's firefighters.
“We want Paterson families, especially children, to know that we’ll always be there for them, in any emergency,” Frank Lozada, president of the union, said. “We also want them to know that we’ll be there during happy times, because for us it’s all about building the community up.”
Asked about the significance of the visit on one of the most important days on the Christian calendar, symbolized primarily by new life, McWilliams suggested that it served as a reminder of where he and his congregation, as well as many others, would like to see Paterson go.
"We need collaboration between the city and residents," McWilliams said. "We all want to do what's in the best interest of our children."
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