Popular downtown fine dining restaurant Scott’s continued its annual tradition Wednesday by hosting its annual first responder dinner.
“We see so many people like this in the community,” Dixon said. “They help us. They are always there and present, and we just wanted to think of something we could do to show our appreciation to them, especially at this time of year.”
About 130 first responders toured the restaurant throughout the day to feast on roast turkey, bacon-wrapped pork loin, mac and cheese, creamy mashed potatoes and muffins.
This is also the first year that Dixon has been able to extend an invitation to the Flower Branch and Oakwood Police Department luncheon. The meal initially focused on Gainesville-based agencies such as Gainesville Police and Fire, Hall County Fire Rescue, but Dixon said they have enough resources to invite additional agencies.
“We kind of grew him out of there to make sure we could house him and take care of him,” Dixon said. “I guess as we’ve grown, we’ve been able to do more, so we’ve been able to include more people.”
It’s an event that Hall County Deputy Jeremy Cooksey looks forward to every year.
“Scott is a great guy,” Wilson said. “He always takes care of us here and always provides a wonderful dinner. Everybody – Hall County, Gainesville, Flower Branch… Everybody always looks forward to it. It’s a very good time for us all to come together.”
For Gainesville Police Lt. Kevin Holbrook, the EMS lunch is a time to relax during a busy day.
“Especially this time of year, we’re just as busy as everybody else,” Holbrook said. “In fact, we usually have to put in a few more hours and hustle to keep everyone safe as they shop and gather over the holiday season. It allows us to let our guard down, so we can be in a place where we can do that. We really appreciate Scott’s willingness to do this for us every year. It gives us the opportunity to celebrate the holidays among ourselves as well.”
Holbrook said the Gainesville Police Department was fortunate to have had a relatively slow month.
“We are taking a number of different actions to plan ahead of the holidays to keep the public safe,” Holbrook said. “And these projects have done well for us in the city over the past few years. So that’s one of the things that we try to ensure is that people don’t have to worry about their safety when they’re shopping. We can take care of them and that is important to us in the city of Gainesville. As always, the number of calls to the service is increasing, whether it’s car accidents, assisting the public in various ways, but that’s what we expect and what we’re planning.”
While inflation has caused the price of most items to rise, Dixon said it’s another reason to give first responders the food they deserve.
“All costs have gone up, but that’s probably even more of a reason for these guys who are on a fixed government salary,” Dixon said. “[During] this time of year it’s something to give back because budgets are what they are and they’re trying to make it for their families during the holidays.”
In addition to the free food, first responders were able to spend time with other agencies as well. This scholarship is especially important in law enforcement and emergency services, as first responders often collaborate with other services.
“The work that we do is very mentally and physically taxing,” Hall County 1st Lt. Dan Franklin said. “And that’s why it’s nice when the owners give us the opportunity to rest – even for a minute to rest in a relaxing atmosphere. Obviously there’s more than one agency here, so we can talk to each other over lunch. It’s just a nice way to spend some time away from all the hustle and bustle of the work we do. So we always appreciate Scott very much and they always treat us very well.”