WAXAHACHIE — First responders take the title of "public servant" to heart each day they report to their shift. However, in some cases, that title goes beyond just answering calls — sometimes their dedication to duty can involve lumber, hammers, and nails.

That commitment to the community rang true over the weekend as members of the Waxahachie Fire Department answered a call Sunday night at Graham Street Church of Christ. Firefighters were dispatched at about 4:53 p.m. to the 300 block of Graham Street and, upon arrival, found a sport-utility vehicle had driven inside the church’s sanctuary.

“I think that the evening service had just completed and there were a few people in the worship area. It did some substantial damage, but no one was injured. No one got hit by the car or any of the debris,” Waxahachie Fire Department Battalion Chief John Rodgers said. “At that point, we had the car removed from the inside. It was towed by a wrecker service. We knew that it was going to getting dark soon, so we wanted to help them. It is not something that we normally do, but we knew that they had some sensitive equipment inside and wanted to help them secure the building.”

Rodgers said the pastor and some of the members of the church went to get lumber so the hole in the brick wall could be temporarily patched. He added that the firefighters wanted to help because it was not only growing dark outside but also the church and congregation are like neighbors to them.

Curtis Polk, who is the secretary and treasurer of the Graham Street Church of Christ, said the firefighters went above beyond to help the church on the call.

“They didn’t have to do that. We didn’t have any electricity or lights. They got all of that stuff on their fire truck to where we could light up and have some type of electricity to put that wood back up. They stayed there up until we got it secured. We just appreciate it very much,” Polk said “Anything that we can do for the fire department we are going to do it for them. We couldn’t have done it because we don’t have carpenters in our church. They had saws and everything on their truck. They went beyond because they didn’t have to do that. We just appreciate it.”

Polk also thanked the Waxahachie Police Department, as well as the Brown Street Church of Christ, who had some their members come over to help with securing of the building. He added that the church is waiting for the insurance company to contact him about the damage done to the building, as well as two vehicles that we in the parking lot — with one being the church’s van.

Damon Bentley, who is a member of the Brown Street Church of Christ, was one of those that came over to help. Bentley posted pictures on Facebook to commend the firefighters for their hard work and dedication.

“When we got there, the fire department had tools and plywood and 2x4’s. They did all that work themselves. We ended up not doing anything,” Bentley said. “I was just impressed by the fact they could have said ‘everybody is good we are gone.’ But they went above and beyond to stay and secure the building before they left.”

Bentley said that Brown Street is going to work with Graham Street in the interim to help them get things back in order.

Polk added that the Wednesday night Bible study at the church is canceled for this week and, for now, plans to hold its regular Sunday service in the fellowship hall, as it was unaffected by the accident. For those who want to help the church during this rebuilding process, Polk can be reached at (972) 935-8002.

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