Firefighters, emergency personnel and other essential workers in Prince George’s County received free lunches Wednesday as a sign of gratitude for their service during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the county leads the state of Maryland with more than 54,000 confirmed cases, front-line and health care employees have continued to douse fires, conduct criminal investigations and inspect electrical work at residential and commercial construction sites.

Gevonia Whittington, director of the Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security, hands a bag lunch from Famous Dave’s to a county employee during a grab-and-go luncheon for Prince George’s essential workers at the Wayne K. Curry Administration Building in Largo, Maryland, on Dec. 30. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Gevonia Whittington, director of the Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security, hands a bag lunch from Famous Dave’s to a county employee during a grab-and-go luncheon for Prince George’s essential workers at the Wayne K. Curry Administration Building in Largo, Maryland, on Dec. 30. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

“All of our men and women on the frontlines have made innumerable sacrifices throughout this year,” said County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who hosted the grab-and-go luncheon at the Wayne K. Curry Administration Building in Largo. “We’re just here to spread a little joy today. I miss seeing these guys and ladies. I don’t get to see so many of them because of the pandemic. This is a way to look them in the eye and say, ‘Thank you.’”

Dozens of vehicles from county police, fire and sheriff’s departments stretched along a parking lot behind the building, as drivers received bags of food, hand sanitizers and masks.

Alsobrooks and other county leaders distributed bags of food from several restaurants that included Nando’s, Famous Dave’s and Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

“These officers have repeatedly shown up for work,” said interim Police Chief Hector Velez. “They’re dealing with a lot of the same issues a lot of people are dealing with. They came to work day in and day out. We just want to let them know that the work that they’re doing is appreciated not only by myself but the county executive, county council and the residents of Prince George’s County.”

Monica Whittaker, labor relations specialist for AFSCME Council 67 in Largo, drove from less than a mile away to grab some Famous Dave’s.

Bags of food are placed in a parking lot at the Wayne K. Curry Administration Building in Largo, Maryland, for essential workers in Prince George’s County during a grab-and-go luncheon on Dec. 30. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
Bags of food are placed in a parking lot at the Wayne K. Curry Administration Building in Largo, Maryland, for essential workers in Prince George’s County during a grab-and-go luncheon on Dec. 30. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

She’s worked about 15 years in the county health department, but 1½ years with the union representing county health care workers.

“What an interesting time to come aboard,” she said inside her vehicle. “But this is wonderful. We appreciate the recognition.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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