Gratitude is on the menu in Derby this Thanksgiving. An anonymous donor has made sure that seniors in the community have a warm meal on the table for the holiday.
“Here comes the beans. Perfect timing,” said Steve Jalowiec as spooned food into a tray.
Inside the Paugassett Hook and Ladder Company 4, Debry’s volunteer firefighters worked to serve up a feast on Wednesday.
“We have more than 125 pounds of turkey,” said Linda Goodman, a volunteer firefighter with Company 4. “Fifteen pounds of stuffing, 16 pounds of potatoes.”
Their mission was to get a warm Thanksgiving meal to seniors in their community.
“We all take care of our seniors, they took care of us,” said Ron Sill, another member of Company 4 who worked on the assembly line.
“I look forward to this day every year,” stated Goodman.
Six years ago, an anonymous donor offered to pay to put meals on the tables of those in need. This Thanksgiving tradition has grown from just a handful of volunteers to firefighters stationed across the city cooking, assembling, and delivering the dinners from a big rig.
Typically, 50-60 seniors are served but this year the need has grown to more than 100.
“It’s sad to see but also great to see that we’re able to help more people,” said Goodman.
The turkey dinners came with a heaping helping of humanity and a big side of thanks.
“They’re usually very thankful, very happy to see us. Sometimes we bring tears to their eyes,” said Biggs.
Angela Anderson looks forward to seeing the friendly faces on the firefighters about as much as the food they bring to her door.
“I’m so glad that they continue it because there’s so much madness going around in the world and we have these happy people that make other people happy,” said Anderson.
"It’s just amazing what these guys are doing to provide dinners for a lot of people that possibly won’t even have a dinner. A big thank you goes out to them,” said Sandy DuFresne, who signed up for the first time.
Firefighters are used to running to the rescue and helping people in their darkest hour, but filling the stomachs and the hearts of their community may be the most rewarding of all.
“It’s what we do. We’re there to help,” said Jalowiec.
“It’s not for any sort of pride or recognition. It’s what you do when you become a volunteer firefighter,” added Goodman.