CLAREMORE, Okla. -- The police ambush in Dallas that killed five officers is inspiring many to thank their local law enforcement for the dangers they face every day on the job.
The employees at Hillcrest Hospital treated Claremore police and local firefighters to a free meal Wednesday. David Chaussard, the hospital's CEO, said serving them lunch is the least he and his employees could do to thank them for their service.
They especially wanted to show their appreciation after police and Oklahoma Highway Patrol responded to a tense situation involving a suicidal man at the hospital last week.
"It's easy to go unnoticed that they do so many things," Chaussard said. "It's just an opportunity to let them know we really do appreciate them, and I hope they know how much they're appreciated.
Police Chief Stan Brown said since all the events last week, the support his department has gotten has been encouraging and overwhelming.
"One of the officers' supervisors called me at home the other night and said, 'Hey, chief, I don't know how you want to relay this out to the public or others, but it's been hard for us to buy a meal this week. We go to a restaurant to eat lunch, and people will pick up the tab unbeknownst to us,'" Brown said. "They don't expect anything in return, just to say, 'Hey, this is a token of our appreciation.'"
Brown said other people have brought cards, desserts and other food to the police station as a sign of their appreciation during the past week.
"It does our heart good to know that we're out here doing a tough job," Brown said. "Nobody's going to beleaguer or belittle that point. We're doing a tough job, but we also have partners in the community. There are other folks out here that are doing their part to make this place safe."
Later this week, a local hotel plans to serve breakfast to Claremore police. Brown said he hopes the appreciation for what his officers and other first responders do every day will extend beyond this moment.
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