By MATT CRANE
With Starkville service men and women on duty Christmas Day, one group of community residents is rallying together to provide Starkville Fire Department employees on the job a warm, home-cooked meal tomorrow.
A Firefighter Christmas was organized by Lisa McReynolds who said the idea came about after a conversation with her daughters about the safety of the family’s home from fires.
“I told them I couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t catch on fire, but I that I knew that with the firefighters watching out for us while we slept, we would be OK,” she said. “So as I went to bed that night, I thought, ‘Wow. I do have people out there that have my back while I sleep who are away from their families.’”
McReynolds said she decided to go forward with her project the next day by creating a Facebook group inviting friends to join in the cause.
“While we’re at home with our families, I want to let them know we’re at least thinking of them,” she said. “I had a pretty overwhelming response.”
One of the first people to respond to McReynolds’ request was Ali Jones, who said she and her daughter were looking to do something special for others this Christmas when the Facebook invitation came along.
“I shared the information with my daughter and we both thought it would be perfect,” she said. “My daughter loves to cook and her speciality is cobbler, so I told Lisa to sign us up for five cobblers.”
As of Sunday, the group members participating in A Firefighter Christmas included McReynolds, Jones, Kelli Dawkins, Heidie Lindsey, Melanie Mitchell, Elizabeth Pickle, Emily Owen, Misty Goering, Michelle Guyton, Madeline Golden, Felisha Hester, Demi Dunne, Denise Cosper, Lisa Ervin, Kristie Norris and McReynolds’ father, H.B. Brandon.
Jones said she is honored to be part of something for the people who do so much for the community and said she wishes them all a safe night on duty.
“It’s important for them to know how much we appreciate their sacrifices for our safety and for all that they do,” she said. “My Christmas wish for all service men and women is that they stay safe and have a quiet, peaceful holiday.”
McReynolds said she hopes this mission continues to grow to service all emergency response departments and encourages other community members to show their tokens of appreciation for the sacrifices these men and women make every day.
“Whether it be feeding them, sending them a card or just thanking them in person when you seem them out in public, I am sure anything done would be appreciated and taken to heart,” she said. “I wish for all of the firefighters to know that even though they can’t be with their families on Christmas Day that there are people out there who are thinking about them and are indebted for what they do for us daily.”