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They brought Thanksgiving to officers who couldn’t spend it at home

Community serves up Thanksgiving dinner for on-duty Clovis police officers

Residents of a Clovis neighborhood watch group helped provide turkey and all the trimmings for officers working the Thanksgiving holiday Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017.
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Residents of a Clovis neighborhood watch group helped provide turkey and all the trimmings for officers working the Thanksgiving holiday Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017.

Tables dressed in gold, brown and orange tablecloth. Champagne, candles and pies as centerpieces.

It’s a setting one would find at a home during Thanksgiving Day. But for staff at the Clovis Police Department who worked during the holiday on Thursday, a break room at their headquarters lit with sunlight got even brighter after a group of women brought the home celebration to them.

It’s the second year Georgia Bracket, 69, organized a dinner party for the staff and officers of the department. She said she, along with a growing group of community members, wanted to show the department how much they appreciate the work of the officers and staff in the community. On a day set aside for giving thanks, it’s the safety in the streets of Clovis that the community was thankful for.

A “thank you” card was signed by each person who played a part in organizing the dinner for the nearly 40-member holiday staff, said Donagene Jones, 49, who also helped organize the event. All the traditional foods – turkey, ham and pumpkin pie – were provided by neighbors in Clovis eager to show their appreciation to the police force.

When it was organized for the first time last year, Brackett and the officers were brought to tears. Brackett admitted to never having hugged an officer, but that day, she said, every officer who enjoyed a meal hugged her. She said the hugs were special not merely because they came from the officers, but because they came from the officers who had just come in from a patrol shift and were still carrying their safety gear.

“My arms were wide because of all the gear that they have to wear for their safety to keep us safe,” she said.

The officers are just as grateful.

Jerry Philipp, 72, a volunteer police officer with the department who watched as the women quickly transformed the room, said the officers and staff love knowing that people in the community appreciate them for their work and would even take time out of their own festivities to make them feel special. He said the group of women who organized Thursday’s dinner belong to one the most involved neighborhood watch groups in the city.

“It gives (the police staff) an opportunity while they are at work to have a little Thanksgiving dinner,” Philipp said. “It means a lot to the officers. They appreciate it.”

Bracket and Jones said they expect the dinner party to grow. Maybe they can even inspire their Fresno neighbors to do the same for their officers? After all, Clovis neighbors and businesses were willing to contribute what they could this year.

“It can be as little or as much as anyone wants it to be,” Bracket said. “But the idea is to be a community.”

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez

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