Jenison couple hosts holiday meal for first responders who’ve helped them over the years

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OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. -- A Jenison couple has a lot to be thankful for this year and they're showing their appreciation to the Ottawa County first responders.

Debra and Richard Black heavily rely on emergency services since Richard suffered a stroke  years ago.

The couple thanked them by opening up their home and offering them a home cooked meal this Christmas Eve.

“I had no idea how much food to get because we had no idea how many people would be here," Debra tells FOX 17. "So, I just bought big and began making and making and making.”

She was busy preparing the food all day on Sunday.

“We had a BBQ and pigs in the blanket and jello and cookies and chocolate cake and everything is homemade,” Debra says.

Richard and Debra have gotten to know the first responders very well over the years.

“We go back a little bit," said Deputy Daniel Fetkenhour of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. "We’ve come to check on Mr. Richard Black several times. And they’ve become like family to us."

Richard remembers when he first had seizures.

“Probably about five or six years ago was my first seizure event."

He recalls the people who rushed in to give him medical treatment.

“I couldn’t be more appreciative,” he said.

The appreciation also extended to those invited to the gathering.

“We’re very blessed and humbled to have a home cooked meal on a day like today," said Aaron Schut of Life EMS Ambulance.

Dozens of first responders dropped by to sample the kindness.

Dispatchers from Ottawa County Central Dispatch, members of the patrol unit and other emergency responders were in attendance.

“How fortunate we are to have these folks on board when we need them," Debra says. “It’s just wonderful to watch everybody come in and visit and eat and just be friends. Makes me so happy to see these folks."

The couple also hosted a gathering over the summer and plan to continue the tradition on Christmas Eve in the years to come.










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