While Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those in the Armed Forces who have given their lives in service to our country, over the years it has become a three-day weekend that marks the unofficial start to summer.
One local organization decided to spend Memorial Day focusing on those who couldn’t enjoy a three-day weekend or attend a Memorial Day service: first responders who were working on Memorial Day.
Members of Tyrian Lodge #111 F&AM Masonic Lodge in Warner Robins hosted a Memorial Day cookout and provided food for the area’s first responders. Some were able to stop by the Lodge building to eat. The parking lot soon filled with ambulances, police cars and even a firetruck. Many more had their food delivered to them at the stations where they were working on Memorial Day. Tyrian estimates that more than 250 meals were served to first responders.
In attendance at the cookout was Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms. Prior to becoming mayor, Toms spent 27 years as a member of the Warner Robins Fire Department. Toms said that receiving thanks from the community is really appreciated by all first responders.
“I am just always blessed to be around groups like the Masons; a group that gives back continually. First responders are under so much pressure and they have to endure so much to do their jobs — emotionally and physically. So to see an event like this, where people are foregoing their own Memorial Day activities to be in service to those that serve, it is awfully important. Anytime you say thank you, it is important,” said Toms.
“Anything you do, from a cookout like this one hosted by Tyrian or just saying thank you when you see a first responder. I remember people paying for our meal or dropping off a plate of cookies, anything that people did in the way of thanks went a long way and it really does mean something. First responders are sort of on an island — waiting for that shoe to drop — that call to come in. They know that what they are doing for the community is important, but we all appreciate being told thank you,” said Toms.
Steve Hafeychuck, a firefighter who has been with the Warner Robins Fire Department for two and a half years, was on hand for the Tyrian hosted cookout.
“I am a veteran so this really means something to me. This is an example of the awesome support our community has for us, a community that understands sacrifice,” said Hafeychuck.
The Tyrian Lodge #111 is located on Tallulah Trail and is led by Worshipful Master Michael Doyle. It is one of the largest Masonic lodges in Georgia. The members are involved in community service activities that range from providing scholarships to cleaning up roads to events like the Memorial Day cookout.
Meeting nights are the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. A meal is served at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information about its activities or becoming a member of the Masonic Lodge, contact the Tyrian Lodge at 478-929-8960.
Alline Kent can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.