09/11/13 — Local groups honor heroes

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Local groups honor heroes

By John Joyce
Published in News on September 11, 2013 1:46 PM

Members of Wayne County AARP Chapter 3381 bought a group of local heroes a doughnut and a cup of coffee this morning as they not only honored the anniversary of Sept. 11, but also the local officers who keep the community safe.

"Last year, we did the fire department," said Hilda Rouse, AARP chapter president. "We gave them a scrumptious meal. This year, we wanted to do the police and sheriff, but since there are so many of them, we decided to do doughnuts and coffee."

Each AARP chapter is required to perform a Day of Service in its community. Each year, the Wayne chapter chooses Sept. 11.

"We chose today because it seemed to be the right day for us, to commemorate a day so profound," Ms. Rouse said.

"Our motto is 'To serve, not to be served,'" Chapter Secretary Joyce Mason said.

Words were difficult for her to find, as they were for many today, to describe just what the anniversary means.

"It's sensitive," she said.

Words were also difficult to find for the men and women in uniform.

They were just as modest when the surprise delivery of boxes and boxes of doughnuts and cardboard carafes of coffee came in the door.

"I've got mixed feelings about being recognized on this day. We do it every day," Goldsboro police Maj. Mike West said. "Every day, our officers and especially their families, make sacrifices for their community."

They don't do it to be recognized, he said. It is their duty. But that didn't make the gift any less sweet.

"It is nice to be appreciated," he said.

AARP member Floyd Jones remembers being laid up in bed the day the Twin Towers fell in New York.

Stricken with ailment after ailment from his exposure to Agent Orange during two tours in Vietnam, he lost all of his left lung and part of his right.

On the day of the attacks, he was again recovering from a near fatal episode when the nation stopped in horror as hijacked planes crashed first into the skyline of Manhattan, then the Pentagon, and then, finally, a field in Shanksville, Pa.

Now, 12 years later, Jones said the decision to smile each day rather than cry is what gets him through, not just as a veteran or someone who has faced death as many times as he has, but also simply as an American citizen.