CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Since 2005, the H-E-B Helping Heroes program has honored local police, fire, and EMS first responders for their dedication and unwavering service to their communities.
Corpus Christi Fire Department Chief Tony Perez said that this kind gesture has made him appreciate the gift of kindness.
"They spare no expense,” Perez said. “They brought a bunch of food. This station, I'm at station one downtown, there's nine of us here and they brought a whole bunch of food to provide this meal for us and it's greatly appreciated."
Tony Perez was among several first responders who were thanked with hamburgers and other good food, but there's a deeper meaning of why H-E-B decided to give back.
H-E-B employee Michelle Rebels said that H-E-B is proud to support the communities heros.
"Its a way to honor them in remembrance of 9/11," she said. "We really want to support we really want to support our local hero’s and we try to do that throughout the year, but during September we really make a special effort to give something more, especially to people who give so much to our communities.”
H-E-B also cleaned up and stocked up the food pantries of about 70 fire stations throughout the Coastal Bend. Perez said this act of kindness goes a long way for his team.
"A medic just went on a call, so they’re not going to eat with us, right now,” Perez said. “They'll eat when they get back and that's just how it goes. I was told a long time ago, 'eat when you can.' If the food is ready, get that food because we can be called at any time.”
He said the time spent together at the family table bring them closer together.
"We're here for 24 hours at a time, so it's like a second family, so we spend a lot of time together and cooking is just part of life. Just like in your home like you cook with your family, that’s how we do it here.”
This is the 19th year that H-E-B has hosted the Helping Heroes program.