"It started as a response to 9/11," King said of the first Public Service Day held about a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that claimed more than 3,000 lives, including hundreds of firefighters and police in New York City.
"Last year was a very different kind of service," King said, with the country still mourning the losses from the attacks.
Ambulances, fire engines and other apparatus from the Mont Alto, Pa., Franklin and Fayetteville volunteer fire companies were in the parking lot of the church on Mont Alto Road, and dozens of their members were identifiable by their uniforms. It was harder to spot some of the others who work for the public every day in other capacities, running townships and boroughs and serving behind the scenes of local government.
"It really shows a lot of people care. It's a reward in itself," said Ken North, training chairperson of the Franklin County Fire Chief's Association.
During the service, King told the crowd of about 300 people that an offering would be taken for the Franklin County Fire Training Center now being built on the grounds of the Franklin County Career and Technology Center.
North said the project already has received several hundred thousands dollars in contributions from the state, county, municipal governments and individuals, but more money is needed to add features such as a tower to help firefighters practice rescues from tall buildings.
The money raised Sunday was to go toward the purchase of a $2,200 smoke generator to be used in training, North said.
"They also recognized teachers, the military and town council members," said Colleen Weeks, a member of the church and the Fayetteville Volunteer Fire Co. who moved to the area from Colorado about a year ago. "There's more public servants than they realize out there."
"They're putting recognition where it needs to be," Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas said. "Particularly in Franklin County, where we depend on volunteers for many of these vital services."
"I'm proud to be a member of this church and I'm proud to he here as a member of the department of emergency services for Franklin County," said Lorie Poe of Fayetteville.
Next to where the service was being held, Anna Shetler, 16, of Hagerstown, helped Chuck Feld with a sand sculpture of a 1929 Chevrolet fire truck that drew the attention of both adults and children. One of 250 master sand sculptors in the world, the former corporate executive said he turned a hobby into a job and quit his position six years ago to found Sand Pounders of West Chester, Pa.
The event brought together people whose paths often do not cross unless there is an emergency.
"We do a lot of building bridges between people," King said of his church.
"He wants to try and get the community more involved with each other, and I think he's on the right track," Fayetteville Fire Chief Max Lenherr said.