GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and when it’s served with a heaping side of appreciation, it means that much more to those who have dedicated their lives to protecting the community.
The members of the Gulfport Scottish Rite cooked up a hot breakfast Wednesday for the men and women of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office at the Gulf Coast Masonic Center.
“It just goes out to show you that there’s people out there who really care about what we do and think about what we do everyday, and it’s just very appreciative," said Sheriff Troy Peterson.
It’s the group’s way of saying thank you.
“They’re involved in a lot of things that we just don’t appreciate as normal citizens, so we want to give back to them, and thank them for giving up what they do, and their family time to protect us and serve us in that capability," said Bill Sloan, Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Supreme Council in Mississippi for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasons.
Scottish Rite members said its a thank you to every one in the department - including those who work behind the scenes.
“You know, we’re all one family. No matter what we do, no matter what uniform we wear, we’re all one family, so it means everything in the world to everybody else, that the administrative staff, the civilian staff, anybody that works at the department that’s what this is for, and it’s very appreciative, it really is," said Sheriff Peterson.
The breakfast is also a chance to strengthen the bond between law enforcement and the community.
“When the community reaches out to us like this, it allows us to have some camaraderie with the citizens and see a different side of them, they get to see a different side of us, not always in such a negative light," said Captain Craig Necaise.
The Scottish Rite said showing their support for first responders isn’t just a one day thing, but something every one should do year-round.
“A lot of us are retired military, or some of us are retired first responders as well, we’re all about giving back," said Sloan. “That’s why there are free masons, especially Scottish Rite Masons, to help those who need help and giving back to the community because they do the same thing."
This is the second year the Gulfport Scottish Rite has hosted this appreciation breakfast. They say they plan to host one every year, honoring a different Coast public safety agency each time.