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Veterans appreciate first responders

Weatherford Democrat - 9/22/2017

Sept. 21--First responders were greeted by bikers with brisket at Heritage Park Thursday as a joint effort between Annual Vietnam Memorial Ride and Army Warrior bikers.

Both organizations set up the event to give first responders free meals and offered to-go boxes for those who couldn't stay.

A mixture of bikes, patrol cars, unmarked SUVs, ambulances and fire trucks dotted the park's asphalt while various uniforms lined up to eat.

The event is a way to raise first responder morale, said Ed Crozier, vice president of the Army Warriors motorcycle club.

"It's so much bad mouthing going on about cops, what better way to show that some of us appreciate them; all the first responders," he said. "There are signs up everywhere. Anybody can go and put up a sign in their yard, but we actually do something."

As a veteran, there's a sense of indebtedness to be felt for those who put themselves in harm's way, said Bob Folmar, Army Warriors motorcycle club and Annual Vietnam Memorial Ride member.

"That gives us a chance on the individual basis to tell them how much we appreciate them because they put their lives on the line on the daily basis for us," he said.

While most of the expenses for the event come from a mixture of donations and personal finances, for Folmar the reactions on the first responders' faces are payment enough.

"It's the smile on their faces when they hear someone appreciates them," he said. "Being appreciated, it really means a lot to people and someone showing how much they appreciate them means even more."

"I think it's fabulous, I really appreciate the guys that support us," said Weatherford Police Department's Cpl. Travis Johnson. "I love working in Weatherford because of the support."

"The beans are really good, the potato salad was good, the brisket was good too, I'm working on dessert now," he said.

Connecting with the local area is important, Johnson said.

"I love this community and showing they love us back is rewarding in and of itself," he said. "With the national environment being what it is, it's tough to be a police officer but it's not tough to be a police officer in Weatherford.

"We can't do our job without the partnership in the community," Johnson added. "If we didn't have community support we would not be effective, so when they show us this support, it shows us we have a partnership."

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(c)2017 Weatherford Democrat (Weatherford, Texas)

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