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Ga. restaurant feeds firefighters on Labor Day

Olive Garden said they’ve served 10K meals since beginning the service 15 years ago

By Jennifer Parks
The Albany Herald

ALBANY, Ga. — For the 15th year, the Olive Garden restaurant chain served its breadsticks, pasta and salad to groups of first responders on Labor Day to thank them for serving their communities.

In Albany, that outreach was enjoyed at the Dougherty EMS station on Palmyra Road.

“We do this to tell them thank you for their hard work,” said GlynnAnn Brookerd, a manager at the Olive Garden on Dawson Road.

The daughter of a paramedic, Brookerd said she hoped the contribution would serve as a morale booster for the first responders as well as employees at the restaurant.

“This one touches my heart every year,” she said.

Paramedics often work 24-hour shifts and see a lot on the job that is hard to take home. A thank you for that service, when it does come, is appreciated.

“The gratitude itself is phenomenal,” said Steve Ebel, a shift supervisor at the Palmyra Road station. “We don’t get a lot of gratitude in our job.

“We see all kinds of stuff. To get that pat on the back is appreciated. … You don’t get a lot of it from folks. Firefighters and law enforcement are in it as well.”

The Albany Olive Garden location, open since 2012, has served other public safety agencies through the chain’s Labor Day outreach, including the Dougherty County Police Department in 2014.

More than 800 Olive Garden establishments participate in preparing and delivering lunch to first responders on Labor Day. In the timeframe from 2002-2016, the nationwide effort has resulted in more than 10,000 meals being served.

As part of the chain’s commitment to its communities, its restaurants have also donated more than 35 million pounds of food to food banks across the country, officials with Olive Garden said.

Copyright 2016 The Albany Herald