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Thanking those who keep Suffolk safe

On a beautiful Friday afternoon, a local church took the time to show appreciation to the city’s first responders.

Suffolk Christian Church held a cookout for Suffolk’s first responders on Sept. 10. in the church parking lot. There was a buffet of food and tables set up under tents to give visiting first responders a place to sit, eat and enjoy the nice September afternoon.

“We’re doing this for the first responders of the city for all their hard work to keep us safe,” said Priscilla Bunch, organizer of the event.

Provided for those who came were fresh-off-the-grill hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixings, baked beans, pasta salad, cookies, brownies and iced tea.

“It’s a great way to come out and meet the fine people in the city we serve,” said Lt. Gary Myrick of the Suffolk Police Department. “It’s not too often that we get to take a minute or two to enjoy a good meal.”

Along with the food, there was a table set up to the side in honor of the lives lost 20 years ago during the Sept. 11 attacks. There were also 13 bottles of water, each with the name of one of the fallen service members from the recent attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. The table served as a reminder of the significance of the coming weekend.

“It’s great to have community support,” said Capt. John McCarley of the Suffolk Police Department. “It’s an important day to remember not just 9/11 personnel, but all involved.”

Suffolk Christian Church wants to keep the tradition alive of serving the city’s first responders. The church has done so in past years and plans to continue in the future. According to Bunch, the cookouts provide an opportunity to get to know the first responders on a leisurely basis, rather than when you need their help. After a year and a half of a pandemic and the significant anniversary of Sept. 11, many Americans are reminded of how much first responders go through to keep people safe.

“It’s great to know there are still people out there that appreciate what we do,” said Detective Heather Linville of the Suffolk Police Department.