BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
John Bird, of Fort Madison, doesn’t think first responders locally or nationally get enough recognition. So he’s gonna fire up the grill for them in November, a move he hopes catches on and becomes a monthly event.
Bird, a retired auto parts salesman at AutoZone in Fort Madison, and a part-time auto repairman, said he just wants them all to know how much they are appreciated.
“I don’t think they get thanked enough and I thought it would be nice to do something like this for them,” Bird said Tuesday. “I came up with the idea with all the bad publicity everybody has been getting lately.”
Bird said every community should do something like this across the nation to show their support.
Firefighters, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, EMTs, hospital staff and any other emergency personnel in the county are welcome to his home at 1918 Avenue N on July 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bird said flyers are being handed out around the community and donations have come in to help offset some of the costs for the food. Others have offered to bring pies, cookies and desserts for the invited guests.
“We’ve received about $140 to buy food for the event and we’re putting in some of our money as well,” Bird said.
“We’re getting cookies and things from people who want to donate to the lunch. I’m hoping it takes off this month. Right now it’s a one-time deal, but if it works out, we’ll try to do it every month.”
Any first responder, on shift or off, can stop by the yard and grab a sandwich for lunch, Bird said.
“They are all invited.”
Funds for lunch, and potential lunches going forward, are coming in from donations that have been mailed in from residents outside the community or offerings from people in Fort Madison.
“People that used to live here that have moved away., they’re the ones that send some of the finances to do this and it’s greatly appreciated,” he said.
The menu includes hamburgers and cheeseburgers, chips, and desserts and a beverage.
“We just wanted to do something quick and easy to see how it goes the first month,” Bird said.”
“I’m retired, and a little bored.”