OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs police and firefighters responded to a very different call Monday, a call to enjoy a free meal. The Ocean Springs Chamber hosted its third annual appreciation lunch at the main fire station. This year's event meant so much more to the first responders.
"Excellent! Couldn't ask for a better lunch today," said Steven Dye with the Ocean Springs Police Department.
The men and women risk their lives to serve and protect their community. That's why the Ocean Springs Chamber wanted to serve them BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, potato salad, and lemon cupcakes.
"They work downtown closely with all the restaurants, all the business owners that are downtown. They spend a lot of time helping us out throughout the year, putting on our festivals and events in downtown Ocean Springs," said Ocean Springs Chamber Board Member Chad Wade. "We've now done this for three years, and anytime we see it pop up on my calendar, I drop everything that I'm doing that day to make sure I come out and support our guys."
That support meant a lot to the first responders.
"We're doing the job because we want to serve the public. A pat on the back would be nice every now and then," said Ocean Springs Fire Chief Jeff Ponson.
The lunch took on more significance this time.
"In today's world, there's a lot of negativity about law enforcement especially, and this is just one little more showing that our community does care," Ocean Springs Police Chief Mark Dunston.
Even four-year-old Haddox Roth said the police department deserves more attention. When asked if it's important to say 'thank you' to police officers, Haddox replied, "Yeah, they like it."
It was a tasty token of appreciation that filled many stomachs and warmed everyone's hearts. The Ocean Springs Chamber ordered enough food for more than 50-first responders.