Resplendent and trim in his firefighter's dress uniform, the Rev. Richard Kirby was clearly enjoying his outing to commemorate 9/11 at the annual Tribute to Heroes Service at Riverwalk.
Retired from his calling as pastor of Samoset Open Bible Tabernacle for "30-something years," Kirby discovered his services were still needed. Though he has struggled with health issues after suffering from several strokes, the 85-year-old Kirby is the on-call chaplain to the Southern and Eastern Manatee fire districts.
Despite a cracked pelvis and a recent stint in a nursing home, Kirby was determined to participate in this year's 9/11 services. "Those nurses put an extra effort into getting me to walk enough to leave; they gave me extra-special treatment," said Kirby.
"I can't drive any more, but if anybody needs me they can come and get me. They won't let me put a red light and siren on my Hoveround," Kirby said with a chuckle.