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Cornerstone University Honored First Responders and Veterans through Two Community Events Remembering 9/11

News Sept. 12, 2023

Honoring our nation’s heroes for their selfless service is a special priority at Cornerstone University. The university’s theme this year is Christ Our Greatest Friend based on John 15:13-14: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”

As part of the university’s 9/11 remembrances, two community events were hosted to bring the Grand Rapids community together and inspire CU students with real-world examples of John 15. Partnering with Hero Services, the 2023 Strikes for Stripes charity fundraiser was held on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Cornerstone’s De Witt Field. Our first-ever First Responders Chapel took place on Monday, Sept. 11 at Christ Chapel.

Strikes for Stripes is more than a friendly game of softball between veterans and first responders though hundreds of families and the CU community thoroughly enjoyed the game, the food and the festivities, including an exciting parachute team landing onto De Witt Field.

“It’s just trying to bring the communities together to recognize Sept. 11, recognize the veterans, and recognize the first responders for all of their involvement in 9/11 and all the repercussions from that day,” Hero Services Founder Jordan White said as part of FOX17’s coverage of the event.

Much-needed funds were raised for the Hero Services Wellness Program and the Hero Services Relief Program available to veterans, first responders and licensed healthcare professionals. And it was a close game with first responders winning over veterans 15-14!

A wonderful reflection of this year’s significant theme, Cornerstone was honored to welcome CU alumnus Dr. Brad Brown (Ed.D. ’20), Grand Rapids Fire Chief, as a special guest speaker for the university’s first-ever First Responders Chapel on Monday, Sept. 11.

Students, faculty and staff gathered together for this meaningful worship and chapel service to remember 9/11, pray for America, and thank the LORD for dedicated men and women who exemplify courage and selfless service in our city and our nation.

A 27-year respected leader and veteran of the fire service, Dr. Brown reflected on the significance of 9/11, the vital role of first responders today, and the importance of living lives that follow Christ’s example of sacrifice to honor God through serving others.

There was also a time to honor Cornerstone’s former military and first responders. Three CU members who are veterans or former first responders participated. Dr. Kevin Hall, associate vice president of Spiritual Formation & Christian Community, read Psalms 121, acknowledging that our help comes from the LORD. Dan Mills, executive director of information technology & facilities, prayed for current first responders and active duty and reserve service members. And Professor Michael Greene, assistant professor of engineering, prayed for veterans and former first responders.

This inspiring chapel service, alongside the Strikes for Stripes event, offered shared remembrances of 9/11 and an opportunity to pass on to the next generation important examples of selfless sacrifice as reflected in John 15. We pray for the LORD to continue to bless those who serve our community and our nation. And we pray that generations to come will embrace Christ-centered love, service and friendship.

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