First responders invited to dine for free on 9/11

Published 8:17 pm Friday, September 9, 2016

On the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the U.S., a local restaurant is reaching out to first responders with a gift.

Claudia and Pedro Millan, owners of Mi Amor Pizzeria Restaurant in Chocowinity, are offering free dinner to first responders from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday as a personal “thank you” to those in the business of protecting and saving lives.

“You know, so many people think of 9/11 as New York, but we have so many local heroes that people just don’t think about,” Claudia Millan said.

For Millan, acknowledgment of first responders’ importance comes naturally: her father was a Craven County deputy sheriff. She said he was dismayed by the fact that children seemed to be scared of him when he was wearing his uniform, though in or out of uniform, he was the same person. That’s part of the reason why she’s offering free dinner to first responders and their immediate family — so the community can experience first responders in a more casual environment, she said.

“They’re heroes in the uniform, but also out of the uniform as well,” Millan said.

Another reason is to commemorate the day, 15 years ago, on which 2,977 people died after airplanes filled with passengers were simultaneously hijacked and used as weapons on American targets. Both towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan were hit, and of the 411 first responders killed when the towers collapsed, 343 were New York Fire Department firefighters, 37 were police officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, 23 were police officers with the New York City Police Department and eight were EMTs or paramedics from private EMS companies.

Millan said the free dinner invitation is extended to spouses and children of first responders to acknowledge their support.

“That’s for us to be able to thank their families, because the families play such a big part in their role as well,” Millan said.

Mi Amor Pizzeria Restaurant is located at 110 Town Center in Chocowinity.