More Than 300 Meals Served to First Responders by Haines City Rotary for 2nd Year
by James Coulter
Ryan Green has been working at the Haines City Police Department for seven years. He currently serves as a K9 officer on the city’s K9 unit. As someone who strives to serve his community, he appreciates it when the community serves him, like when he and his crew were served barbecue dinners by the Rotary Club.
“It is very appreciative that they would show their support for us and cook for us and first responders,” he said. “It makes it seem really nice that one of our clerks in the community is giving back to the community. It makes us feel good that we are able to serve our community, and that the citizens in our community supports us.”
Ryan Ramos serves as a firefighter at the Haines City Fire Rescue Station. Sometimes he and his crew do not have time to prepare a proper meal, which is why they love when local organizations like the Rotary Club serve them free meals.
“It was great, we loved it,” he said. “Very appropriate for the time, and giving remembrance for all of our brothers and sisters who died in the line of duty [on 9/11].”
Nearly 300 meals were served to local law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and other public servants during Haines City Rotary’s second annual BBQ Meal for First Responders.
The event was hosted at the Lake Eva Event Center on Friday for first responders, including the Davenport and Haines City police and fire departments, AdventHealth nurses, and local paramedics and emergency medical technicians.
The meals were provided to public servants for free, and to the general public for $10, which they could either pick up or eat inside the event center. The meals included baked beans and cole slaw from Sonny’s BBQ Catering, chicken cooked by Rotarians Tommy Adison and Steve Steiner, and cakes baked by Rotarian Stacey Stokes.
“It is our way of saying thank you very much for everything you have done,” said Rotarian Karen Tiner. “Thank you for the first responders. We really love you.”
This was the second year Haines City Rotary hosted their annual event. This year’s event was hosted to coincide with the 20th anniversary of September 11 as a way to commemorate the memory of the first responders who gave their life in the line of duty on that fateful day, as well as honor first responders living and serving today.
Nearly 300 meals were passed out this year. Last year’s event not only feed 70 public servants and first responders, but saw an immense outpouring of support from the public, allowing their meals to be fully-funded, said Rotarian Travis Keyes.
“That is the jist of it,” he said. “We wanted to show our appreciation for them and encourage those who want to support us throughout the year.”
Mike Ferguson, Public Information Officer for the Haines City Police Department, appreciates the support provided by the city’s rotary club. They are one of the many local non-profits that give back to their community, and he was proud of their efforts that day, he said.
“Our first responders gets a lot of support,” he said. “We have a very supportive community. People are always asking and bringing donations on ways to help us with small tokens to recognize their services. They do a lot of great work in the community, and they are dedicated to making a difference.”