LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Suited up and ready to respond at a moment's notice; that's how we usually see them. But as of late, emergency first responders have become the victims; calling for the need of communities and law enforcement everywhere to come together.
"It is time for the silent majority in this country to support law enforcement," said Devin Anderson, Harris County District Attorney.
It's a call answered by Olive Garden restaurants nationwide as they took the day to simply say "thank you."
"Oh it's the least we can do. They help the community in so many ways, a lot of people don't know. They stay pretty busy, and I don't think they get the recognition they deserve," said Shay Smith, culinary manager at Lufkin's Olive Garden.
The recognition they deserve from a community that cares.
"It gives me chills. It makes us proud of what we do. It makes us understand that we're not just doing it to do it, we're actually appreciated," said Steve McCool, fire marshal for the City of Lufkin.
Several crews gathered at Lufkin's Fire Station number 3, ready for a hot meal and the show of gratitude that came along with it.
"It was very pleasant to have somebody think about us enough when we're working on a holiday to bring lunch for us," said Joe Burton, Lufkin FD.
An appreciation reflected in the emergency first responders work, each and every day.
"We go that extra mile because we know they appreciate us. It's easy to do something for somebody when you know it's appreciated," McCool said.
In all, more than 800 Olive Garden locations participated in Monday's free lunch.