Firefighters at the Killeen Central Fire Station were honored for their sacrifice and hard work in keeping people and property safe from harm.

The Olive Garden of Killeen treated them to lunch on Labor Day, delivering a meal of pasta, meatballs and the famous breadsticks and salad to the station.

The tradition of Olive Garden restaurants nationwide delivering meals to first responders goes back to 2002.

The Killeen Olive Garden chose the Killeen Central Fire Station for this year’s delivery.

Each year, 850 Olive Garden restaurants throughout the United States provide a “thank you” lunch to first responders who are always on call when an emergency strikes.

Since 2002, more than 12,000 meals have been delivered to first responders.

The firefighters were treated to a big lunch packed with Italian dishes, such as fettuccine alfredo and spaghetti and meatballs.

“It’s Labor Day and we like to give back to the first responders,” said Killeen Olive Garden Manager Greg Laguerre, who helped make the delivery. “Every year we pick a different fire department to give to, this year we chose the Central Fire Department here in Killeen on 28th Street.

“We just wanted to say thank you to them for all of the hard work that they do; they have a very difficult job. They take care of us, we want to take care of them, and they have personally helped me out in the past.”

Killeen Central Fire Station Battalion Chief Cory Davis said the crew enjoyed the food.

“We really appreciate them coming out and supporting us, and we are always out and about in the community. It makes all of the guys feel special and they are looking out for us,” said Davis, who has been a battalion chief for 10 years.

Chris Walker is a firefighter at the station.

“We really appreciate the food and Olive Garden,” Walker said. “We are also are grateful to have so much support from the people and city of Killeen. We enjoy making a great connection with the community.”

Brandon Thomas is another firefighter who was treated to the lunch from Olive Garden.

“It is nice to be thought of on a day like today when we are away from our families,” he said. “It is very good food, and we thank them. It is just nice knowing that someone is thinking of us.”

Along with Laguerre, five members of the Olive Garden staff — Jessica Torres, April Stone, Tonya Orduna, Nina Rivera, and Reyna Varrera — helped deliver the food to the firefighters.

Torres has been working for Oliver Garden for 6½ years.

“It is a great company to work for. These are great days for us because we get do a great thing like delivering food to the firefighters who really deserve it,” she said. “We also donate food to the homeless shelter and to me that is thoughtful and means a lot. It was great being a part of this.”

Stone said Olive Garden’s motto is “We are all family,” and it was great to let the first responders know they are part of the family, too.


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