First responders honored for their service

Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Lives are saved and injuries and disasters are mitigated or averted due to the service of area first responders. Those serving the Franklin-Southampton area recently experienced the gratitude of that community through a First Responder Dinner.

The dinner has become an annual event put on by the Rotary Club of Franklin, Virginia, the Charles R. Younts American Legion Post No. 73 and that Post’s Ladies Auxiliary.

The event took place this year on Jan. 19 at the American Legion Post No. 73 Hall on Armory Drive, and it served approximately 230 first responders.

Rotarian Treasurer Lauren Harper, who helped organize the dinner, said those invited to it included members of every rescue squad, fire department and law enforcement agency in Franklin and Southampton County.

The tally of 230 meals served included those available for pick-up and those available for first responders to eat in person at the American Legion Hall.

“The last two years we did (the dinner) as totally pick-up, and people didn’t eat in,” Harper said. “But this year we gave folks the option of either picking up and taking their meals back to their squad house or eating in with us. So some, this year, opted to eat in again, but with the COVID scare, in the last couple years, many have just taken it back to their squad houses.”

The meal consisted of a sizable steak, a salad with dressing, a large baked potato and a dessert.

In addition to the work of about 20 volunteers from the Rotary Club and American Legion, the dinner was made possible by area businesses.

“We just asked businesses in our community, some of which deal with first responders on a daily basis, to please support (the dinner), and they were very kind and generous in doing so, and we’re very lucky that everybody wants to support an event like that,” Harper said. “And I think the folks that were there really did enjoy it.”

Sponsoring the dinner were the American Legion Post No. 73 and its Ladies Auxiliary; the Rotary Club of Franklin, Virginia; Bank of Southside Virginia; Bronco Federal Credit Union; Barnes, Brock, Cornwell & Painter PLC; Burgess & Co. PLC; Franklin Baptist Church; Kaufman & Canoles P.C.; Randall, Page and Bruch P.C.; Railey & Railey P.C.; Serve Restaurant & Taphouse; Bon Secours Southampton Medical Center; Summit Design and Engineering Services; and The Village at Woods Edge.

“All those folks contribute either money or food in one way or another,” Harper said.

Summing up the purpose of the dinner, Harper said it is held “truly to say ‘thank you’ to all those who are first responders in our community and let them know how much they are appreciated.”