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Firefighters treated to lunch

September 4, 2018

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Firefighters treated to lunch

By Mark Reagan

Staff Writer

The atmosphere at downtown Brownsville Fire Station 1 on Labor Day was quiet late Monday morning.

One firefighter was finishing a report in a downstairs office while another kept him company. Upstairs, another firefighter lounged on a couch watching a football game.

The morning hadn’t been too busy. There was a rollover single-vehicle accident that could have been tragic, but the driver wore a seatbelt and walked away. Firefighters also responded to a downed wire. A few medics were also out on calls.

Then, at noon, after a crew of servers from Olive Garden showed up with pasta, grilled chicken, sausage and meatballs, the upstairs living quarters at the fire station exploded in smiles from firefighters who seemingly appeared out of nowhere once the scent of marinara and alfredo sauces wafted through the air.

The Olive Garden, which opened last November, brought a 17-year tradition where the company delivers food to first responders to firefighters in Brownsville for the first time.

General Manager JC Cantu said the Olive Garden started the tradition to thank first responders for their selflessness.

“They do so many fantastic things for us,” Cantu said. “We just want to make sure not to take them for granted.”

As smiling firefighters gathered upstairs at the Brownsville Fire Station 1, the Olive Garden servers set to creating the first responders their own pasta buffet.

On one table, a server set out several boxes of bread and three bowls of Olive Garden’s signature salad.

In the kitchen, the servers set to preparing fettuccini and spaghetti while warming meat sauce, marinara and alfredo sauce. The first responders could enjoy grilled chicken and sausage, along with the meatballs.

“It’s a nice little buffet,” Cantu said.

The firefighters seemed to think so too, as they built giant plates of salad, pasta and bread.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

A more complete version of this story is available at www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com

PREMIUM VERSION

Firefighters treated to lunch

By Mark Reagan

Staff Writer

The atmosphere at downtown Brownsville Fire Station 1 on Labor Day was quiet late Monday morning.

One firefighter was finishing a report in a downstairs office while another kept him company. Upstairs, another firefighter lounged on a couch watching a football game.

The morning hadn’t been too busy. There was a rollover single-vehicle accident that could have been tragic, but the driver wore a seatbelt and walked away. Firefighters also responded to a downed wire. A few medics were also out on calls.

Then, at noon, after a crew of servers from Olive Garden showed up with pasta, grilled chicken, sausage and meatballs, the upstairs living quarters at the fire station exploded in smiles from firefighters who seemingly appeared out of nowhere once the scent of marinara and alfredo sauces wafted through the air.

The Olive Garden, which opened last November, brought a 17-year tradition where the company delivers food to first responders to firefighters in Brownsville for the first time.

General Manager JC Cantu said the Olive Garden started the tradition to thank first responders for their selflessness.

“They do so many fantastic things for us,” Cantu said. “We just want to make sure not to take them for granted.”

As smiling firefighters gathered upstairs at the Brownsville Fire Station 1, the Olive Garden servers set to creating the first responders their own pasta buffet.

On one table, a server set out several boxes of bread and three bowls of Olive Garden’s signature salad.

In the kitchen, the servers set to preparing fettuccini and spaghetti while warming meat sauce, marinara and alfredo sauce. The first responders could enjoy grilled chicken and sausage, along with the meatballs.

“It’s a nice little buffet,” Cantu said.

The firefighters seemed to think so too, as they built giant plates of salad, pasta and bread.

Firefighter Jaime Pizana said it’s great that Olive Garden fed them all.

Aaron Lopez, another firefighter, said he was grateful for Olive Garden’s generous gesture.

Firefighter Richard T. Walter didn’t hold back about how he felt.

“This is awesome,” Walter said.

While there was a lull in calls during the noon hour, the medics, who are typically busy on holidays, ate first.

And as all nine personnel at the station sat down to eat, their radios continued to chatter with calls for a medic and a small grassfire, which is why Cantu said he feels it’s important to give back to first responders.

“They’ve done so much for us,” Cantu said.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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