EAST LAKE — For the third straight year, East Lake Fire Rescue officials held a free breakfast for area law enforcement officers in honor of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
The gesture from East Lake Fire Chief Tom Jamison and his staff is a way to thank the officers for putting their lives on the line for their communities every day.
“East Lake Fire Rescue has a great appreciation for our public safety partners in law enforcement and it’s our honor and privilege to be able to break bread with them on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day,” Chief Jamison said at Station 57 on Wednesday, Jan. 9. “This is a special day for them, but they know they are welcome at any of our fire houses at any time.”
The goodwill breakfast, provided by Corporate Catering of Palm Harbor, featured blueberry French toast and eggs Benedict among the traditional morning meal staples, and it provided an opportunity for local law enforcement officers to not only grab a nice meal, but also relax and comingle with fellow first responders, if only for a short time between shifts.
“It’s always nice to be able to hang with our brothers in the fire department,” Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Travis Sibley said as he sat with several North District Community Policing Unit partners. “We work well as a team throughout the year, so it’s nice to hang together and talk and have breakfast together.”
“It’s always great to break bread with fellow first responders,” Deputy Martin Guzman added.
Under Jamison’s leadership, East Lake Fire Rescue has become known for its community outreach and engagement.
According to the department’s public education officer, Claudia Faiola, the law enforcement breakfast is just one example of how the department gives back.
“It’s to show appreciation for everything they do,” Faiola said. “They put their lives on the line every day, so we want to show our appreciation by treating them to breakfast.”
Faiola noted the fire department, which is operated by the East Lake Tarpon Special Fire Control District, invited officers from the Sheriff’s Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida Highway Patrol. Personnel from many agencies were unable to attend due to duty commitments, so the fire department would deliver the leftovers to several area departments, she said.
“We know they’re working and can’t be here, so we will bring the food to them,” Faiola said.
As the first wave of diners started to clear their plates and head out to their shifts, Jamison, the East Lake fire chief, had a few words for the officers.
“We do appreciate all you do, and we like to have a sit down once in a while to show it,” the chief said.
“It’s very much appreciated,” Deputy Cindy Kakalow replied.