Off-duty firefighters feed hundreds of first responders on Thanksgiving
Turkey dinners with all the trimmings were served for some 200 first responders who came for dinner in shifts
By Jill Harmacinski
LAWRENCE, Mass. — A dozen pies, four 20-pound turkeys and 75 pounds of mashed potatoes are just a sampling of the food Lawrence firefighters served to first responders working on the Thanksgiving holiday Thursday.
Turkey dinners with all the trimmings were served for some 200 first responders who came for dinner in shifts starting at 1 p.m. Thursday, said Lawrence fire Capt. James Driscoll.
Lawrence firefighters, all members of Local Union 146, were able to prepare the giant portions and serve dinner in the function room at the Relief's In on Market Street.
"We had people coming in on and off all day," said Driscoll. "It went very well."
Lawrence police and firefighters have been working in shifts around the clock since Sept. 13, when gas explosions and fires rocked the Merrimack Valley.
Other first responders have also been working in the city, as well as in Andover and North Andover, augmenting open shifts and details.
Salem, New Hampshire, native Matthew Norcross, a retired Salem police officer who now works for Merrimack College police, dined at the Relief's In Thursday.
"The food was great .... More incredibly, the firefighters were so kind and generous," Norcross said.
The Party Connection food service business of Methuen helped the firefighters prepare four 20-pound turkeys and 12 nine-pound turkey breasts.
Meaghan Sullivan, cousin of Lawrence Firefighter Patrick James Sweeney, made and donated a dozen pies for the dinner.
In addition to turkey and mashed potatoes, firefighters served 40 pounds of green beans and 30 pounds of peas and carrots, as well as stuffing and gravy, Driscoll said.
This is the first year Lawrence firefighters did a Thanksgiving dinner for first responders. Based on the success Thursday, Driscoll said crews are considering making it an annual event.
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