PARKERSBURG - Local emergency responders were honored Thursday as the local phone company hosted a picnic just for them.
Around 40 responders, representing the Parkersburg Fire Department, the Wood County Sheriff's Department, the Parkersburg City Police Department, a number of emergency medical responders and others, gathered outside the Frontier Communications building on Market Street Thursday afternoon with Frontier employees to partake in traditional picnic foods. Those gathered enjoyed hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ, potato salad, baked beans, lots of dessert and more.
"There was a good variety of food," said Frontier General Manager Tammy Shingleton. "Everyone had a great time."
Around 40 local emergency responders attended a picnic lunch in their honor Thursday at the Frontier Communications building on Market Street. Company employees wanted to show their appreciation to the local emergency responders for the work they do for the community.
Frontier operator Pam Rutherford with her husband, Parkersburg firefighter Sam Rutherford, attend a special picnic event Frontier organized to show its appreciation for local emergency responders.
Frontier has always valued its participation in the community.
"What we wanted to do today is get out and thank all of the first responders in the area for sacrificing all of the time with their families to be out there and make sure we are taken care of in this area," Shingleton said. "This is just our way of saying 'thank you.'"
With the recent anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the employees at Frontier wanted to show their appreciation. Lisa Browning came up with the idea and organized the event, company officials said.
Operator Jackie Tracewell said they wanted to thank the emergency responders for always being close by in times of need.
"We are 24 hours here and a lot of time when we come out, we see police going down the alleyways checking on things," she said. "One time when I came out, a phone booth was on fire (just up the road) and they were here within a couple of minutes."
When the earth tremor hit Aug. 23, 2011, emergency crews came over and checked Frontier's building to make sure it was safe for employees. At times when the alarms have gone off, they have come in and checked it and have helped get people out of stuck elevators.
"It was much appreciated," Tracewell said. "We wanted to thank them for what they do for us."
At one point during the picnic one of the tents Frontier had set up over some tables to provide shade got caught by the wind and began to blow toward Market Street and the traffic on the road. Emergency personnel present went after it and prevented it from causing any major problems.
"They still had to have a normal work day and rescue us," Shingleton said with a laugh.
This was the first year Frontier organized an event like this and many with the company want to make it an annual event.
"I think it would be a great idea to do it next year as well," Shingleton said. "Everyone seemed to enjoy it so I don't know why we couldn't do it next year as well."
Shingleton joked many of the emergency responders wanted to make it a weekly affair as everyone had plenty to eat.
"Everyone seemed to go back for seconds," she said. "I think they really enjoyed it.
"This is one of the most fun things we have done."