SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Paramedics, firefighters, police officers and emergency medical responders lined up for free food and festivities today for a National First Responders day appreciation event.
“It’s just one day out of the year where we can say thank you to the police officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics that come out every day, put their lives on the line and are just really the backbone of the community,” says Steve Lowry, a founding partner at Harris Lowry Manton LLP.
While this is the eighth annual appreciation event held here by the Harris Lowry Manton Law Firm — celebrating first responders today amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, means even more.
photos: Bunny Ware
“First responders have been exhausted, they’ve worked long hours, they’ve been held over their shifts, they’ve been waiting in line at the hospital to get patients in, they’ve dealt with incredible sickness, all while chancing their own health and wellbeing, being exposed to this. But they’ve championed through and it’s just great to be recognized,” says Chief of Operations for Chatham County Emergency Services, Phil Koster.
This year, COVID-19 was the leading cause of death among first responders.
According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, more police officers died from COVID-19 in 2021 than from firearm or traffic-related incidents combined.
“They’re not only putting their lives on the line when they come out to a situation, but just by being out in the public you might be putting your life on the line because of the pandemic,” Lowry said.
Lowry said they were expecting to serve about 500 – 600 first responders through today’s event.