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Scannelli column: First to respond

Have you ever noticed that nights, weekends and especially holidays somehow seem to be magnets for emergencies that require an urgent and immediate response? How fortunate we are that with a mere phone call, all necessary services arrive within minutes, arriving with the right equipment, skill, and swift action along with warm and comforting words and care. These men and women are unsung local heroes and we may not think about what their lives are like on major holidays. While we enjoy the comfort and traditions of uninterrupted festivities with family and friends near and far, our on-duty first responders stay close to a station, a car or department with their radio/phone on and all attention awaiting the call to respond to our mishap. They miss out on activities that we take for granted — a leisurely start to the day, traveling home to join the family, preparing for and enjoying the family dinner, playing games with the kids, an afternoon nap and the big game on TV with spirited beverages. In short, they sacrifice all that is traditional for the rest of us to stand by and rescue us from our holiday disasters. In fact, consider that our first responders can’t even find an open restaurant to maybe grab a quick meal with the family that doesn’t require the preparation time. Major holidays are difficult for many first responders on duty and their families … just imagine the disappointment in the eyes of their kids and spouse as the phone rings and they watch a parent race out the door to serve.

This year, a team of emerging leaders in our community is wanting to change the story for our invaluable first responders and their families. A Leadership Lewisville Clemmons action learning team has decided to step up and step in to honor these men and women with a holiday solution — a festive feast. In partnership with the Clemmons Community Foundation, the group is putting together a holiday feast and festivities at the Lewisville Fire Department No. 11 from 1-3 p.m. on Christmas Day for on-duty first responders serving Clemmons, Lewisville and Vienna and their families. What a beautiful way to honor these dedicated men and women who forgo their personal lives to serve us. It’s time we serve them. And kudos to these emerging leaders for the idea.

Want to help? If you’d like to volunteer in preparation or on Christmas Day, contact the team representative Ashley McDowell at 336-978-3303 or ashleydenisem@yahoo.com. She will share the many options to help. Or if your schedule is full, consider a donation to offset the expenses of the event. Visit the foundation’s website for the event at bit.ly/ccf-honors-first.

Importantly, if you are a first responder — fire, law enforcement, EMS and supporting services — a very big thank you. Our communities appreciate all you give and give up for us on holidays, nights, weekends, every day, year-round. And if you are on duty Christmas Day, join the feast!

Sandi Scannelli is president and CEO of the Clemmons Community Foundation. Contact her at sandi@clemmonsfoundation.org .