Valley News -

By Stephanie Lai

First responders are thanked with free lunch in Murrieta


Last updated 9/20/2018 at 4:15pm

Shane Gibson

Eva Bailey, 7, left, dressed in a hot dog costume helps serve to-go lunches prepared and provided by staff at the Vineyard Place memory care community for Murrieta police officers and firefighters in honor of National Day of Service and Remembrance for 9/11, Sept. 8.

Vineyard Place, a Murrieta Senior Living Center, gave more than thanks to their community's first responders Saturday, Sept. 8. The center's community service directors arranged a grab-and-go lunch station where Murrieta first responders enjoyed a to-go lunch before heading back to work.

The First Responders Memoriam and Lunch was held to pay respect to the honor, courage and sacrifice to both local and national first responders, with special recognition to those involved in 9/11, Community Relations Director Gina Fogelmanis said.

Chef Freddy Beltran and his staff organized the menu, barbecuing for the awaiting recipients, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Each lunch included two roast beef sliders, macaroni and cheese, grilled vegetables and a blueberry muffin.

"The lunch we're serving is a staple for the end of the summer," Beltran said.

His cooking team included Vineyard Place cook Fred Montelongo, staff and young volunteers, with young Eva Edwards serving the lunches in a hot dog suit.

Shane Gibson

Vineyard Place staff members Tricia Jacobs, left, and Gina Fogelmanis prepare to-go lunches for Murrieta first responders in appreciation for their work, Sept. 8.

First responders were also given a thank-you card and a stainless steel thermos with the Vineyard Place logo symbolizing that these recipients were free to come back to the center for complimentary coffee anytime.

Murrieta Police, Fire Department and paramedics arrived throughout the two hour time time span, over 15 officers arriving in the parking lot within the first 30 minutes.

"Our connection with our community is amazing," officer Aaron Drootin of the Murrieta Police Department said. "I was down at Ground Zero after 9/11, and it's just nice to feel appreciated and remember the guys that were lost."

Appreciation went both ways with officers and Vineyard Place staff exchanging thanks for their services.

Vineyard Place decided to host the lunch two weeks ago and gathered an eight-person team to make it a reality, Executive Director Cynthia Edwards said with ambitions to continue the function in the future.

Stephanie Lai can be reached by email at [email protected]


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