Hundreds of people converged on downtown Saturday evening to thank the first responders who fought recent wildfires and saved homes and lives.

Glen Rose school children wrote messages and drew pictures expressing their thanks. Their pictures were taped to the side of a fire truck.

“When we needed you, you were here,” one child wrote above a crayon drawing of flames.

County Judge Mike Ford, who wore one of the white T-shirts sold to commemorate the occasion, told the crowd, “This is why we live here in Somervell County.”

Folks stood in a long line that stretched from the front of the Glen Rose/Somervell County Chamber of Commerce building to the back of the Somevell County Courthouse for an old-fashioned fish fry.

Volunteers spent the evening preparing the feast. The spread included fried potatoes, side dishes and desserts that attracted hungry diners, not to mention bees.

The Howard Payne University Band, which had planned to be in town to perform at First Baptist Church, set up on the square and entertained the crowd with some rousing music.

Last, but not least, people shook hands and personally thanked the Somervell County firefighters, EMS, sheriff's department, city workers, county officials, Texas Forest Service managers and others who last month planned and mobilized the response to the fire that leapt across the county line from Bosque County and ultimately burned about 6,200 acres in both counties. Volunteer firefighters from 16 nearby communities also responded.

A second fire on County Road 202 also threatened homes. Residents who live along County Road 2007 and in The Oaks and Hill Country Estates developments were evacuated.

“It’s a wonder no was killed” and “I can’t believe no homes burned,” were common comments Saturday night as people recalled the fires that could have been a much worse disaster had it not been for the first responders.