Dental offices to celebrate first responders with "First Lunch"

“First Lunch,” which will celebrate the work of first responders, is an outgrowth of Freedom Day USA.

FAIRMONT — In recognition of First Responder’s Week, Wilson Martino Dental has partnered with TLC Dental and the Smile Defenders who will be buying 1,000 box lunches for our brave Police, Fire, and EMT members.

Wendy Boyce, National Director for Freedom Day USA and First Lunch, said Freedom Day USA was founded about eight years ago. It is a national day to give thanks to military and veterans and will be celebrated on Oct. 14 this year.

“As we’re going through that journey, we’ve always wanted to do something to also honor our first responders,” said Boyce.

Dentist Robert Martino developed First Lunch as a division of Freedom Day to thank all first responders. Lunches will be distributed May 10-14.

“Then for the last two days of First Responder Week —the 13th and 14th — we’re challenging our community to at least buy one lunch for a first responder,” said Boyce.

What that might mean is if someone is eating out and sees a first responder they pick up the tab. It might mean delivering a boxed lunch or whatever someone can do as a thank you.

“One lunch, 500. The sky’s the limit. Whatever you would like to do,” said Boyce.

Other local businesses are encouraged to join in and say thank you. She said part of the core values and vision of dental offices is giving back to the communities in which they live and work.

“Our community members support us by being patients at our office and it is our honor to be able to give back especially to those who sacrifice for us,” she said.

She said most people run away when there is some type of disaster happening and first responders run towards it no questions asked.

“We are thrilled to be able to say thank you. We don’t think giving a boxed lunch is going to change someone’s life but it is just a way to show appreciation,” said Boyce.

Martino said founding Freedom Day USA is his way of giving back to military and their families.

“We had as many as 1,000 offices across the United States doing Freedom Day,” said Martino.

Some offices had mentioned honoring first responders, and Martino said he wanted to do something special just for them. This year will be the inaugural First Lunch event. Aside from challenging the community to buy a lunch they can also choose to donate one.

“We just want to say thank you to the first responders. Sometimes you just don’t know how,” said Martino.

He said it feels great to do outreach in the community and he’s blessed to be able to give back to the community.

“When they know that they’re appreciated, sometimes they don’t know that, and I’ll telling you more people than not appreciate the heck out of them,” said Martino.

Reach Sarah Marino at 304-367-2549

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