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By MATT CRANE
At a luncheon hosted by Mississippi State University at Fire Station No. 1 in Starkville Monday, MSU President Mark Keenum and Mayor Parker Wiseman personally served holiday meals to local first responders in honor of their commitment to both campus and city.
Keenum said he began hosting the annual event four years ago when he took office as a small token of the universityâ€™s appreciation for the outstanding men and women protecting the MSU campus and Starkville community.
â€śIt gives me great comfort to know that if any crisis or situation arises that requires emergency response, we have such dedicated professionals here than can respond,â€ť he said. â€śWe have such an outstanding team here serving our community needs.â€ť
Wiseman said he praised the Starkville Fire Department as one of the best in the state.
â€śThey do an excellent job not only protecting the structures in the city of Starkville, but some very significant structures on the MSU campus,â€ť he said. â€śThis is a department that has much more complex responsibilities than a lot of fire departments in similar communities throughout the state.â€ť
Wiseman said he also appreciated the efforts of both the Starkville and MSU police departments as well as the Sheriffâ€™s office for their work in the community and their partnership with the university.
â€śThey all work very closely together on game day and do something thatâ€™s really unique and special to the university,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s very appreciated by all involved.â€ť
Commenting on how community members can show their appreciation for Starkvilleâ€™s first responders, Keenum said a simply saying, â€śthanks,â€ť can go a long way.
â€śThese are people who, when the bell rings and they go into a crisis situation, can literally be putting their lives on the line to protect us,â€ť he said. â€śI think that means a lot just hearing from citizens what their job and their service means to this community.â€ť
Echoing Keenumâ€™s sentiments, Wiseman said community members should be diligent in expressing their gratitude toward the men and women serving both campus and community.
â€śNever assume that the first responders in this community know how much they are appreciated,â€ť he said. â€śTake the initiative to say something nice and show that you realize the tremendous sacrifice that they and their families are making because of the line of work they are in.â€ť
SFD Battalion Chief Consella Hampton said he was thankful for the display of gratitude by the university and city Monday.
â€śIt feels great to be recognized,â€ť he said. â€śTo see that someone is thinking about us other than when they have a fire just feels great overall.â€ť