Arkansas City police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and support staff were honored April 6 at an appreciation luncheon sponsored by the Arkansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau. The event was underwritten by Walmart, L.G. Pike Construction and First Baptist Church.

Lunch was prepared and served by members of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors and management from Walmart.

“Without the support and continual commitment to our community from (these) departments, our community would not be the safe place it is,” said Pam Crain, convention and tourism specialist. “These professionals represent our community daily, and keep us safe and protected. ‘Thank you’ will never be enough.”

“We at First Baptist are absolutely thrilled to support our local police department and fire and rescue personnel during the luncheon hosted in our facilities,” Pastor David Stanley said during a prayer of blessing as the event began.

“These men and women place their lives on the line each and every day that they put on the uniform, and we are ever so grateful that they keep our community safe. Ark City’s finest, we pray for you and your families for protection and wisdom as you do your jobs, running to danger when others flee. God bless you all and from the bottom of our hearts here at FBC, thank you, thank you.”

Walmart Manager Mark Chickadonz said it is one of his top priorities as a store manager to become involved with the community in events such as this.

“Our first responders are the backbone that supports our community and being able to give back to them was indeed an honor,” Chickadonz said. “Thank you for allowing Walmart to help show the community’s appreciation for our local police and fire departments.”

“We were thrilled to have the financial and volunteer support of Walmart for this event,” Crain said. “In addition to a financial contribution to the luncheon, members of management helped us prepare and serve the meal.”

A door prize of $100 in Chamber Bucks was won by Demi Ames, of the Arkansas City Police Department.

“It was a great event that we will build on each year. It is our plan to make it an annual event,” Crain said.