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Chamber feeds first responders, educators

For first responders and teachers alike, 2020 has been a difficult year. While the former have had to maintain close interactions with the public during a public-health crisis and rising anti-police sentiment, the latter have had to adapt constantly to the demands of remote learning and returning to school under uncertain circumstances.

For those reasons, and to recognize the sacrifices those professions make every day for the greater good, the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce’s Bright Futures Beaufort County chose to recognize them with a free meal this week. First responders enjoyed a meal courtesy of King Chicken on Thursday, and Bright Futures was slated to deliver pizzas to every school in the county Friday to feed BCS staff.

“This is something that the Chamber board wanted to do, and First Bank had discussed doing it, so we came alongside them to make it happen,” said WBCCC Executive Director Catherine Glover. “We got some sponsors and worked with (Washington Police and Fire Services) Chief Stacy Drakeford, who’s on our board, to make sure we honored all the first responders in the county.”

“It’s been a very difficult year to have to deal with COVID and all the other issues going on in our country,” Drakeford said. “It just means a lot for us to really understand our mission, and that’s truly public service.”

Among those who enjoyed the meal was Chocowinity Police Chief Ralph Whitehurst, who expressed his gratitude for the gesture.

“I think it’s a good community event and a good way to show appreciation for all the first responders, whether it be police, fire or rescue squads,” Whitehurst said. “They’re honoring the profession we do, and it’s really appreciated.”

First Bank, Vidant Beaufort Hospital and Executive Personnel Group sponsored the event.