A way to thank them

Published 5:56 am Saturday, June 21, 2008

By Staff
The Boy Scouts have helped. The Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce has helped. Other organizations and individuals have helped.
When it comes to helping firefighters and emergency-management personnel fighting the 41,000-acre Evans Road fire in Hyde, Washington and Tyrrell counties, eastern North Carolina residents and groups have pitched in wherever they could.
For those who have yet to lend a helping hand, there is an opportunity at hand. The Salvation Army’s operation in Washington is seeking volunteers to help feed the several hundred firefighters and others fighting the Evans Road fire. The feeding is taking place at Northside High School.
Can’t cook? Don’t worry about that. The food being prepared is simple fare — soup, sandwiches. How about packing bag lunches for delivery to the firelines?
Think such work is beneath you? How about fighting a fire in 90-degree heat and choking smoke? That’s what these firefighters and emergency-management personnel have been doing for nearly three weeks.
Even if one volunteers for just one day, that day of helping feed the firefighters and emergency-management personnel provides an opportunity to personally thank those who are placing their lives in danger to fight the blaze. They deserve at least that much. They also deserve as many good meals as they can get while battling the fire.
Knowing how most eastern North Carolina people feel about helping others, it should be easy for the Salvation Army to recruit volunteers to help feed the firefighters and emergency-management personnel. Somewhere among those volunteers should be several grandmothers who have years of experience making soup and sandwiches. Even if it is just opening cans of soup, heating that soup and making peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, it’s work that’s needed and appreciated. There should be some “lunchroom ladies” among those volunteers. With school just out, they can use their skills to make sandwiches and heat up soup for firefighters instead of students.
What they can serve up won’t be home cooking. That’s a bit difficult to achieve when you are feeding hundreds of people. Still, these firefighters and emergency-management personnel should be able to look forward to at least hot soup and sandwiches like grandma has been making for years. Sometimes, it’s not how a PB&J sandwich tastes but who made it that’s important.
Of course, there’s no doubt that firefighters and emergency-management personnel would love to see area residents drop off pies, cakes, cookies and other food at Northside High School for inclusion in the bag lunches being prepared there for distribution on the firelines and other areas where the firefighters and emergency-management personnel take their meals when they have time to eat. A piece of homemade peach pie or a slice of coconut cake just might bring a touch of home to people who left their homes to help protect the homes of others.
Doing these simple tasks and kindnesses are just one way to let these firefighters and emergency-management personnel know their efforts are not forgotten and are being appreciated. They didn’t forget eastern North Carolina in its time of need.