First responders and community cooking the love for emergency services
What started as a friendly competition among basic emergency responders and ER staff at the St. Charles Parish Hospital has turned into a comprehensive effort to support and aid the parish’s emergency first responders.“It’s pretty amazing,” said Natalie Robert, a committee chair with the newly formed One Team – One Fight organization. The group consists of the parish’s fire departments, Sheriff’s Office, Fraternal Order of Police, hospital’s emergency services and EMS personnel.
It started with last year’s crawfish boil that was enjoyed so much by hospital staff it was decided to continue the gathering, Robert said.
“I was very surprised with the outpouring of support from the public,” she said. “There are so many people who want to help out any way they can, especially with the recent tragedies like flooding. Responders work 24/7 – not really having a day off sometimes.”
This year, it became a fundraiser along with establishing the organization – One Team – One Fight.
Held April 22 at Monsanto Park, the crawfish cook-off drew an impressive 35 teams and nearly 800 people, she said. It raised $7,500, which the newly formed group distributed last Wednesday.
Three $2,500 checks were presented to first responder organizations to help buy equipment.
One Team – One Fight now has a seven-member board, including some of the parish’s business owners who wanted to help make the event
Robert said they hope to continue the fundraiser and keep providing money for better equipment, education or whatever the responders need to do their job whether it’s a bulletproof vest or rain gear.
Alden Bishop, One Team board member and associate administrator of St. Charles Parish Hospital, said he believed One Team – One Fight is something everyone in the parish can get behind.
“We have a tight group and this is a way to provide better service in the parish,” Bishop said. “At the heart of Louisiana are the crawfish boils and everybody thinks they have the best pot of crawfish, and this lets that happen while raising money to support the first responders.”
Bishop welcomed the community support for the crawfish competition fundraiser. He also praised Monsanto Park as a great place for the event, and Robert’s dedication to making it a great cause.
Board member Greg Cosse’, vice president of the St. Charles Parish Fraternal Order of Police, called it a wonderful experience.
“It’s shows unity with the community and the first responders,” Cosse’ said. “It always helps. The whole thing started as a way to get with the community, and when we have this event it’s likely they will be out there to help you.”
He said extra funds are always a plus for stepping up their service.
“It helps to see the community appreciates what we do,” Cosse’ said. “We are looking for many years of great success.”
They plan to use their $2,500 check to buying equipment like rain jackets for patrol duties on the street.
Armond Bourque, president of the St. Charles Firemen’s Association, said this is the first time for the competition and donations, and he’s already looking forward to next year’s competition.
“The funding will help the fire departments,” Bourque said. “We’re looking forward to the future, the great support by the citizens of St. Charles Parish and supporting the services we provide. I’m just excited about it and so are the firemen seeing that support.”