Sam’s Club in Williamstown hosted a barbecue on June 4 to thank local first responders for their service during the pandemic.
“First responders did a lot for us over COVID,” said Sam’s Club Manager Carlene Brown. “Whether it was the response to calls or what they did for the community, I felt it was very important to appreciate them. They do good work all the time and, even though it is their job, I wanted to do something special for them.”
The club’s “backyard” barbecue included firefighters, police officers and emergency medical service personnel, each of whom was greeted with thanks from Sam’ Club personnel and a festive lei.
“We had all the associates and managers there and we set it up with red white and blue decorations,” said Brown. “When the responders arrived, we had a lei for them because we wanted to do something fun and they all took one … Some sat and ate, and some of them took things to go, but we told them thank you and that we were grateful for what they do for the community.”
First responders on hand included the Washington Township and Monroe Township police departments. According to Washington Township police Chief Patrick Gurcsik, events like the barbecue are few and far between, making the department all the more grateful.
“The Sam’s Club appreciation barbecue means the world to our officers and first responders,” Gurcsik noted. “Police don’t always get a lot of appreciation for the dangerous work we do. Unless you have a family member in uniform, you may not think about the police until you really need them. That’s unfortunate, because even though you don’t interact with them every day, we are out patrolling, protecting and being ready to respond.
“Everyone likes to be recognized, and we enjoy it when complete strangers stop us and simply say thank you for the job you do.”
Brown wants to make the barbecue a yearly event and include other essential workers.
“All the first responders showed up and were very appreciative,” she said. “We felt it was important to appreciate them because they do so much for the community.”