It was a Thanksgiving dinner baptism by fire.
Preparing meals and then delivering fire trucks full of turkey dinners Thursday morning to more than 50 Grovetown families, Grovetown firefighters immersed the area's elderly and sick in the Thanksgiving spirit during the fourth annual Grovetown Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway.
Meals prepared at the Grovetown Public Safety Department were donated by members of Marvin United Methodist Church.
"Today, we've got just about everything you could think of for a Thanksgiving dinner," said Public Safety Chief John Tomberlin.
"Each year, this is really something because we have a good bit of our fire department staff to volunteer. But we also couldn't do it without the help of Marvin United Methodist and United We Care," he said.
Marvin United Methodist donated side dishes and five turkeys. United We Care, a local charitable organization, provided volunteers and a list of those in need.
"We gave away 168 turkeys this year to people who've already come in our store and said that they needed them," said Bill Campbell, founder of United We Care. "We've always tried to give to people who can't cook for themselves around this time of year.
"So it was just natural that I team up with Chief Tomberlin. And it's been great because we're able to do more since it's a joint effort," Mr. Campbell said.
That joint effort included Public Safety Deputy Laura Edmiston, who has volunteered to make deliveries for the Grovetown Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway since it began.
"Every year, this thing just gets bigger. We have more people helping us and we have more donations," Deputy Edmiston said.
Gary Thigpen, 11, whose father is a Grovetown firefighter, witnessed firsthand the abundance of donations while helping.
"I just heard them say that they're going to have to make a second trip in order to bring all the donated food over from Marvin Methodist," Gary said.
"I'm glad because this is a lot of fun. And it'll help out a lot more people," he said.
Preston Sparks is a reporter in The Augusta Chronicle's Columbia County Bureau. He can be reached at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 110, or firstname.lastname@example.org.