Sumter County first responders smile and hold a banner commemorating National First Responders Day (Photo courtesy of Sonny's BBQ).

Sonny’s BBQ gives free lunch to first responders


Today is National First Responders Day, and Sonny’s BBQ is commemorating first responders in Wildwood with free lunch. 

“It’s an opportunity for us to really highlight individuals or organizations that are cut above,” said Kennon Adkinson, the Chief Kindness Officer for Sonny’s BBQ. 

Congress designated Oct. 28 as National First Responders Day in 2017 to honor first responders and encourage ceremonies promoting awareness of the holiday.

The resolution states that “first responders include professional and volunteer fire, police, emergency medical technician, and paramedic workers in the United States.”

More than 25 million first responders keep communities safe across the nation. 

Sonny’s BBQ is providing pulled pork, chicken, macaroni and cheese, and sweet tea to 100 first responders at the Wildwood Public Safety Building located at 7361 Powell Rd. Even those on active duty can stop by and pick up food during their shift. 

The event will also entail a presentation and a recognition of Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Pam Warren and Sumter County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Lieutenant Chris Rankin. 

The two Sumter County first responders were nominated through the “Random Acts Of BBQ” initiative, which anyone can partake in. 

“They really take the extension step to give back and donate their time and help the community and become involved with the rest of their units,” he said. 

Adkinson said Sonny’s BBQ has hosted these “Random Acts Of BBQ” for about eight years, but this is the first year they’ve taken an event to the Wildwood Public Safety Building. 

“Here at Wildwood it is our first time, but hopefully not our last,” he said. 

Publicity is not the goal of the event, Adkinson said. Sonny’s BBQ wants to genuinely thank and honor the first responders who serve the Wildwood communities. 

“Every day you have an opportunity to see a police officer or a firefighter or an EMS, but how often do you actually thank them for what they do?”

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