Area first responders came together at the Defiance post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) on Tuesday afternoon to receive a blessing from a local pastor, while they continue to do their jobs during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Representatives from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Defiance Police Department, Hicksville Police Department, Defiance County Sheriff’s Office and the Defiance Fire Department gathered in the post parking lot, while observing social distancing, to receive words of encouragement, and a blessing from Defiance County Chaplain Dave Brobston, who serves as pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Defiance.

Sgt. Ryan Purpura, a member of the public affairs unit for OSHP District 1 and 2, which encompasses most of northwest Ohio, was pleased to be in attendance when first responders in Defiance County came together to show support for one another.

“With times being so uncertain due to COVID-19, it’s encouraging that men and women in uniform here could gather at a safe distance to let each other know they’re here for one another,” said Purpura. “Regardless of what’s happening in the world, it’s still our job to protect the safety of the public.”

Lt. Bob Ashenfelter, commander of the Defiance post, shared words of encouragement prior to Brobston’s blessing and prayer over the group. Brobston also encouraged the first responders, before asking for their protection in prayer for the first responders, and their families, during this difficult time.

Said Ashenfelter: “We are asking the public to adhere to Gov. DeWine’s order and stay home if you can. It’s best for everyone, and makes our jobs easier.”

Added Purpura: “By adhering to the stay at home order, it helps keep first responders, doctors and all health professionals healthy. It is a big deal.”

On the front page: Defiance County Chaplain Dave Brobston (inset photo) delivers a message of encouragement to Defiance County first responders Tuesday at the Defiance post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Brobston also prayed over the first responders who continue to focus on public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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