BAY MINETTE, Alabama — For the third year now, the North Baldwin Friends of First Responders group recognized members who serve our area in emergency services with an annual appreciation dinner.
In years past, they were all invited to come together for dinner at Matthews Landing in Stockton, but with the pandemic looming this year, organizers had to get creative and figure out a way to recognize them with a meal, but in a safer way.
They decided to have individually wrapped meals catered to each of the 15 different full-time departments over the course of several days during the week of Dec. 14. In addition to the meals that will be prepared by Water Oak Catering, there will be cookies, brownies and other baked goods that will be prepared, and individually wrapped by members of the community to be distributed among the departments. Smaller all-volunteer departments were treated to bags of goodies and cards made by area school children.
“The event is going to look a little different this year,” said Judy Pimperl, one of the event’s organizers, “but what remains the same is the appreciation and gratitude of our community for the service and sacrifice of these individuals every single day of the year, and especially this year as they have been called on more than ever with the number of storms and other adversities we have experienced in 2020.
“This could not be accomplished without the monetary donations of our generous sponsors, to include area businesses and individuals, and for that help, we are grateful. We are also thankful to the volunteer of Pine Grove Baptist Church for their sponsorship and help in delivering the meals.”
On Monday, Dec. 14, lunch was delivered to Bay Minette Fire and Police Departments, Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department, Medstar and North Baldwin EMS Ambulance Services, and the Department of Salt Water Fisheries in Spanish Fort.
Tuesday, the following departments were honored: Baldwin EMC, Alabama Power Company, and North Baldwin Utilities.
And on Wednesday, deliveries were made to Alabama State Troopers in Bay Minette, Medstar Air Ambulance, Stapleton Volunteer Fire Department, 911 operators, and Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency employees in Bay Minette.
In all, about 300 meals were prepared, 100 each day, with an estimated more than 100 different types of dessert donated for the event.
The group also sent gift and snack baskets to North Baldwin Volunteer Fire Department and North Baldwin Sheriff’s Search and Rescue.
Gift baskets were provided to all first responder groups in the North Baldwin area, which in addition to ones already listed, include the Stockton Volunteer Fire Department; Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency; Little River Volunteer Fire Department; Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department; Perdido Volunteer Fire Department; Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Department; Rabun Volunteer Fire Department; Tensaw Volunteer Fire Department; White House Fork Volunteer Fire Department; Lottie Volunteer Fire Department; Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers; Poarch Band of Creek Indians Fire Rescue.
Sponsors for the event included Matthews Landing, Norris Funeral Home, Beans on Hand, American Pride, VFW Post 3568, the North Baldwin Chamber (through the North Baldwin Chamber Foundation), Blooming Fabulous, Water Oak Catering, Chuck Stevens, North Baldwin Infirmary, The First, Pepsi Cola of Atmore, SAV, Baily Realty Group, McMillan and Associates, North Baldwin Utilities, Edward Jones/Heather Singleton and United Bank.