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6 ways to thank first responders in your community

By priorityone40196442, Oct 14 2016 05:39PM

First responders' duties bring them into harm's way every day. Police officers, firefighters and paramedics put themselves on the front lines of dangerous and traumatic events, and it's common to wonder how you can thank these individuals, perhaps lessening the emotional burden of their work.

The following list is just a sampling of the many ways you can show a first responder that you care. These are good ideas to start with, and apply at any time of the year.

1. Cook a meal

Bringing home-cooked food to the local police or fire station can show the local first responder community that you care. Day-to-day life as a police officer, firefighter or paramedic can be stressful and the schedule irregular, meaning that home-cooked meals may be a luxury that will make these first responders grateful. And if you take the meal over yourself, you have a great chance to say a verbal thanks as well. Of course, since an alarm can sound at any time, it may be best if the meal is one that can be returned to later if the diners have to leave off in the middle.

2. Donate to a good cause

There are numerous charity drives in any given community to support the fire departments, police forces and more. A gift to one of these causes can make a material difference in the lives of first responders and the family members. Even if you don't possess the material means to make a big donation, there are plenty of ways to help charities, including organizing or volunteering at a drive or other event.

3. Send a letter of thanks

These days, many people don't take the time to write letters - electronic communication has driven paper out of favor. This means that sending a physical letter thanking first responders for their service may take on greater importance, feeling more personal, permanent and heartfelt than email. If you gather multiple letters from the community and deliver them all at once, the impression on the recipients could be significant.

The first responders in your community will be grateful for your thanks and support.

4. Send a practical gift basket

A gift basket is a classy way to express thanks. If you customize one of these presents to suit the tastes and needs of the local fire department or police force, it could be an incredibly thoughtful choice, one that will make your gratitude clear. Such a basket could include gift cards to restaurants in the area, allowing first responders to relax and unwind with good food between their high-stress assignments.

5. Use word of mouth

When you have a good experience with local first responders, spreading the word either online or in person can do a great service to the department. It's not a direct thanks to the police, fire and paramedic personnel, but speaking well of these individuals is a gesture of gratitude, one that is easy and impactful.

6. Just say 'thanks'

Just about every day, you likely pass police officers, firefighters and paramedics going about their daily business. Just saying a simple "Thank you for your service" can be a great way to show that individual you respect and appreciate what he or she is doing for the community. It's extremely simple, and could make a first responder's day.

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