Civil servants: ‘These people work like dogs every day’
An eclectic collection of vehicles filled the parking lot Wednesday at Thomasville Funeral Home.
Fire engines lined up diagonally across from a backhoe parked in front of a dump truck as police cars and ambulances nestled neatly beside each other. These transports from all walks of life delivered dozens of people to Thomasville Funeral Home's fifth annual Civil Service Luncheon. TFH Director Scott Kramer started the free luncheon in 2009 as way to say thanks to city and county employees who spend their days serving the public.
"These are all the people who take care of our children, take care of us, take care of everybody in need," Kramer said. "How can we not do it? It’s impossible."
Hundreds of civil servants showed up for a free barbecue plate and a chance to spend time with people normally only seen in the context of a day's work. Police officers and firefighters shared a table and stories in a setting far from the scenes emergency responders usually congregate to.
"It builds camaraderie and helps us get to know some of the firefighters and police we don't know," said Eric Morrow, a paramedic with Davidson County EMS. "[The luncheon] shows that people do appreciate us and appreciate what we do. We appreciate what they do for us."
Extending an open invitation to anyone who works in a civil service capacity, Kramer organizes the annual luncheon to give back to the people who always seem to be there when needed. While police officer and firefighters often are seen performing their duties, Kramer also wants to recognize the people who pick up the trash, cut the grass and process paperwork.
"These people work like dogs every day," Kramer said. " You see how hard everybody works. Does anybody really stop and go in and say thank you? We want to give them something. It's easy to take. Everybody struggles to give."
Judy Younts, executive director of Communities In Schools of Thomasville, wishes more businesses and organizations would get more involved in the community.
"The world needs more businesses and people like him," Younts said of Kramer. "It's a nice friendly atmosphere in a non-working capacity. These people represented here work every day for us. People have no idea what they do, what they see, what they take care of. We see each other all the time but this is a chance to get together and break bread and share a meal. [Kramer] has really emerged in the community to support all of us."
Feeling appreciated for the job they do is not lost on Thomasville Police Chief Jeff Insley.
"It really makes you feel good that you're appreciated and to see the list of all the folks who came together to make this happen is special," Insley said. "We appreciate them and it makes you just want to work that much harder. The biggest thing is this shows that the community does appreciate you and the things you do and the effort you put in.
Kramer estimates more than 600 plates of barbecue, catered by Barbecue Shack, were served during this year's luncheon. Volunteers also provided takeout boxes for those who weren't able to take time off to sit down and eat.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.