NEW BRITAIN - Itâ€™s nice to be appreciated, a tableful of New Britain police officers agreed Thursday as they finished plates of hamburgers, hot dogs, salads and chips.
â€śItâ€™s good to know there are people still behind us,â€ť said Matt Smith, polishing off a cheeseburger.
Dozens of the cityâ€™s police, firefighters and emergency medical responders were treated to a barbecue during their workday, hosted by the New Britain Memorialâ€“Donald D. Sagarino Funeral Home.
This was the funeral homeâ€™s third annual Public Service Appreciation Day, meant to let emergency responders know that their services are vital.
â€śWe see a lot of these people when we are dealing with sad situations in life,â€ť said Funeral Director Anne Targonski. â€śOnce in a while, we like to say thanks for what you do in the community.â€ť
The funeral home and the responders often deal with each other during familiesâ€™ worst moments. The barbecue is an opportunity to not only give back but socialize in a happy setting, Targonski said.
â€śWeâ€™ll be open the rest of the afternoon,â€ť she said. â€śWe told everyone to just come and join us.â€ť
Food was available from 11 a.m. with police, firefighters and EMS personnel able to come in between calls, sit down and have a nice meal including hamburgers, â€śGeorgia Red Hots,â€ť hot dogs, kielbasa, salads, watermelon and cookies.
Each public servant who attended was given a â€śsurvival kit,â€ť which included Life Savers, Hersheyâ€™s Kisses, gum and Starburst candies.
Between 150 and 200 people attended last yearâ€™s barbecue. Targonski and her co-worker, Barbara Thompson, expected about the same number Wednesday.
Thompson was the cook, working over the grill placed on the deck of the funeral homeâ€™s New Britain Event Center as a ladder truck rolled up to Farmington Avenue, then parked, and firefighters came streaming out.
Meanwhile, inside, officer Peter Scirpo finished his meal. â€śI had the Georgia Red Hot and it was hot,â€ť Scirpo said.â€ťIt was very nice. Itâ€™s nice to feel appreciated and it was a nice break to be appreciated.â€ť
At another table, firefighter Katherine Galezowski was working on a hamburger and kielbasa at a table with her co-workers. â€śItâ€™s very nice and very sweet that they care and show their support and we appreciate it,â€ť Galezowski said. â€śThey always have nice smiles and good food and itâ€™s always nice to see the other agencies.â€ť
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.