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H-E-B partners honor first responders

By Sonny Long
Sept. 10, 2010 at 4:10 a.m.

Victoria firefighters at Station No.1 break bread with H-E-B partners who cooked lunch for them in memory of the 9/11 attacks.

H-E-B partners reached out Friday, serving lunch at five Victoria fire stations as part of the store's "Helping Heroes" project.

The program is done in honor of first responders in conjunction with the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"We think it's fantastic that each year H-E-B comes into our fire stations and recognizes our firefighters in remembrance of Sept. 11," said Victoria Fire Chief Vance Riley. "We are so appreciative of their efforts. They take very good care of us."

At Station No. 1, store partners Katherine Navarro, Denise Moreno and Yolie Calzada did the side work - slicing tomatoes and onions - as grocery manager Jon Reeder cooked hamburgers.

"It means a lot to be able to give back a little bit to the community and the people who protect our community," said Reeder, who was in the Marines at the time of the attacks. "It means a lot to us."

Moreno agreed.

"Firefighters do a lot and I like to come out and show my gratitude toward them and thank them personally for what they do for our community," Moreno said.

The firefighters and paramedics are grateful, too.

"It's nice to be rewarded for the job we do," Acting Lt. Bill Curlee said. "It's nice not to have to worry about the cooking and cleaning up for a change."

"It's important how the community feels about you," said paramedic/firefighter Dillon Hannasch. "When they do stuff like this, it's really reassuring."

Battalion Chief Shannon Martin wants the community to understand the importance of the H-E-B program.

"They have done this for years and we are really thankful and appreciative for what H-E-B does for the fire department," said Martin.

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