Our local firefighters and policemen help others all year long. As a thank-you for their service this Christmastime and every year, FUMCFW’s special Advent program, “Blessing Our First Responders,” provides holiday treats that church members bake and then deliver to local fire and police departments.
Beverly Stevens is just one First Church Family member who has gone the extra mile to bless our local first responders with this gift of thanks. It began a couple years ago when Beverly volunteered to help with the annual blessing of our first responders, a new idea initiated and developed by Sammye Dunn and Rev. Chuck Graff. Beverly, who was a home economics major, filled her box with cookies and delivered it to the firefighters at Station 16. She thought it was such a good idea that the next week she took them a cake. The following week she brought two pies, followed almost every week thereafter by cookies, brownies, and even some refreshing homemade ice cream in the summertime.
Jimmy Nicklas, one of the firefighters at Station 16, says Beverly always remembers their favorites. “We’re all friends, and she knows each and every one of us,” he says. “She pretty much knows which dessert each guy likes.” Beverly also keeps track of their schedules so she can make sure every shift of men is covered. She even cooks up something special for the holidays. From white cupcakes with red sugar sprinkles and flags for the Fourth of July, to a pumpkin spice Bundt cake for Halloween, she has something for every season.
At first, the firefighters would ask Beverly why she kept coming back week after week. “She told us she’d made a new year’s resolution to start bringing desserts,” Jimmy recalls. Beverly finally told them she’d decided to adopt them, and that seemed to do the trick. After a while, Beverly’s visits turned into more than just dropping off a sweet treat. Now the guys invite her in for dinner or a glass of iced tea, and they sometimes visit for an hour or more. “It’s something that we really appreciate and her company as well,” Jimmy adds. “She’s a wonderful lady.”
Jimmy explains that because the firefighters purchase their own groceries, in most cases they don’t spend extra to get desserts. Beverly also knows the guys have to put meals together in a short amount of time, and that doesn’t really leave room for baking. If they get a call, they leave their plates right then and there. That’s why Beverly takes them desserts. “It’s a rewarding feeling to do that for them,” Beverly says. “They are such nice guys, and they are so appreciative.”
The firefighters at Station 16 make regular grocery trips together, and they noticed a program at their store in which you accumulate stamp cards to earn free items. To show their gratitude to Beverly, they collected more than 750 stamps and then gave them all to her. She had enough stamp cards to redeem a whole new set of cookware for herself — with plenty leftover for more. Coincidentally, the firefighters have also been first responders for Beverly’s parents. “We didn’t realize it, but we were actually making runs for her parents too,” Jimmy states. “It’s pretty cool that we got to meet her parents and help them.”
This year our annual blessing of our first responders will begin on December 6, and some of the firefighters from Station 16 will join Beverly at the morning services as she shares her story. Not only will this heartwarming story about Beverly’s experience launch this year’s opportunity to help bless some of our other local firefighters and policemen; it will be the first of two Sundays in which you can pick up this year’s treat boxes from the Welcome Center, plan your baking, and deliver them to the first responders of your choice by December 19. As Jimmy says, “We’re just 24 guys here. There are almost 900 more stations in the area, and they would probably love something like that too.”
When just two years ago, Beverly picked up her first box and delivered cookies to the firefighters at Station 16, she had no idea that many desserts and deliveries later, she would be telling others about this special friendship formed over the two-way blessing of providing treats to our local first responders. Now that’s icing on the cake!