OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Thanking those who serve and protect. That was the goal Friday morning in Ocean Springs as the outpouring of support for first responders continued. This support provided these men and women with more than just a word of encouragement.
It was all hands on deck for the volunteers at St. Paul United Methodist Church as they filled the plates of first responders with a hot breakfast. These men and women took a break from their rigorous schedules to relax for a bit and enjoy a good meal.
"As we're out there in the trenches and doing some hard work we see a lot of the negative in people, so it's good to see the positive in people as well," said Sergeant Sherwood Beckham with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
The responders said the job of protecting the community is not an easy one, and the last several weeks have put those in uniform on edge.
"It's a stressful time for law enforcement, but this community has just reacted with overwhelming love and support," said Major Ray Bates with Sheriff's Department.
According to those who organized the meal, this appreciation isn't anything new. But acting on that pride and respect is a different story.
Kathy Fordemwalt said this breakfast was the perfect opportunity to show those in the role of protecting others how much they're loved.
"We have always cared so much about what they do for us. But, we get kind of complacent sometimes. We don't tell them thank you," said Fordemwalt.
The appreciation showed. It was the kind of effort that Nancy Lemon wants to see more.
"I think it's time that we became conscious of other people and stop being so inward focused and more outward focused," said Lemon.
Lemon believes that thinking of others is what these men and women do every day on the line of duty. Officers like Nicole Shavers hope that message of service is loud and clear for everyone of all ages.
"We're here for them. We're here to help them out and we don't want them to be scared of us," said Shavers.
If this breakfast was any indication, not only are the first responders there for the community, but the community is also there for them. The first responders who came to the breakfast said the outpouring of support has been non-stop for several weeks.