The faculty and staff of Pleasant Manor Health and Rehabilitation Center in Waxahachie hosted a luncheon Friday for all Waxahachie first responders to show their appreciation for what they do.

Admissions Director Terri Smith said they wanted to do something that would communicate how important the first responders are as it relates to their jobs.

“The first responders are critical to our day to day operations,” Smith said. “They are constantly taking their time to help us with emergency and non-emergency situations. We know it’s their job to assist us, but they really go out of their way for us, and we wanted to show our gratitude to them.”

Members of the staff came together to provide hamburgers, hotdogs, drinks and chips for every first responder that dropped in for the luncheon. One of the first group of firefighters on the scene to take advantage of the meal was Captain Jon Wilson and firefighter Joey Dawson. Wilson said the luncheon is a display of the close-knit community that Waxahachie is.

“We look at we do as a job,” Wilson said. “All we’re doing everyday is our job, and for the people of Pleasant Manor to show us appreciation for that job is great.”

He added that it also gives them a chance to spend time together outside of a medical emergency.

“Moments like these are very rare,” he said. “Usually we’re here because there has been some sort of emergency. This luncheon gives us a chance to build on that relationship outside that arena.”

Dawson said it felt good to sit down at the table and eat with people that they rarely had the opportunity to talk to.

“Usually we’re rushing around when we’re called out here, because a patient is in need,” Dawson said. “Today, we get to relax and hang out with those we’re normally rushing past.”

Administrator Rob Ackerman said first responders are essential in what they do, and the center could not fully function without their assistance. He said that is why it’s necessary to host luncheons and special events to show how much they’re appreciated.

Smith said by the end of the day approximately 35 first responders had stopped by to enjoy the luncheon.

“We want to do more things like this show them how much we appreciate them,” she said. “We are also going to set up a water station in the lobby so they can have access to water when they are called out here, especially during the hot summer months.”

Smith said that is the least they could for people who do so much for them and the community.

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