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‘Thank you for being brave’

Krystle Wagner • Sep 13, 2018 at 9:00 AM

As Americans reflected on the victims and first responders of Sept. 11, 2001, a 5-year-old girl showed her appreciation to local emergency workers.

Lillian Verry delivered homemade chocolate chip cookies to the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety to thank them for being brave.

Each year, Lillian Verry and her parents, Jeff and Teresa, have an age-appropriate discussion about the 9/11 events and explain that first responders run in when other people run out. The Robinson Township family explained they want Lillian to understand history as much as she can, and to understand the roles of police officers and firefighters.

The idea to bake and deliver cookies stems from a conversation with Lillian a few years ago. After seeing pictures of firefighters on Sept. 11, 2001, Lillian commented that they looked sad. To make them happy, she decided to bake them cookies.

Lillian also made a card for Grand Haven’s first responders that read, “Thank you for being brave.”

Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said they appreciate Lillian’s efforts.

“Sept. 11 is a sad day for first responders nationwide as we remember those who died in the attacks and fell in the line of duty,” Hawke said. “We appreciate Lillian bringing smiles to many faces with her effort and kindness, and the cookies didn’t last long.”

While visiting the public safety station Tuesday, the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Lillian received her own pink plastic helmet, sat in a fire truck and opened the garage door.

When a public safety crew left on a call while she was there, Lillian prayed. When the Verry family hears sirens, they pray for individuals experiencing the emergency and the first responders answering the call, Jeff said.

As Lillian grows up, Jeff said he hopes his daughter has an appreciation for people and things.

Lillian said she would like police officers and firefighters to know, “They are actually brave, if they might not know that.”

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