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Hot meals delivered for first responders working on Labor Day

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MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. (CBS 58)- Police officers, fire fighters and paramedics have some of the hardest jobs with some of the longest hours. When it comes to first responders, no holiday is a day off.

They say the hardest part about working on holidays is missing time with family, but a little bit of community appreciation goes a long way.

Lt. Matthew Lewek with Menomonee Falls Police says being on-duty during holidays is just part of the business.

"I've never taken a count, but I’ve worked many holidays over many years myself and other officers here, it's just kind of part of the business and it’s what we've become accustomed to," said Lt. Lewek, who’s been with MFPD for 18 years.

First responders in the area say it's rewarding to serve their community.

"If someone's having difficulty breathing and I can give them a breathing treatment, start a line, give them medications and they're feeling better already before they get to the hospital, then I feel like I got a win for that day," said Elisabeth Handgraaf, a Critical Care Paramedic and Supervisor for Bell Ambulance.

Lt. Lewek says there's typically an increase in service calls on holidays. They can vary from noise complaints, car accidents, family disputes and crime. Whatever the call may be, Lt. Lewek says they have to be prepared.

"It might just have something to do with the volume of the motoring public and people entertaining on holidays like this," adds Lt. Lewek.

"We still kind of still see it all,” said Handgraaf. “You know obviously Fourth of July and Father's Day, things like that there are some grill incidents, or Thanksgiving has people getting burnt because they're trying to deep fry a turkey."

Olive Garden delivered meals to first responders in the greater Milwaukee area on Labor Day as a way to say thank you.

"Police are people and they matter too. They risk their lives every day to go out here and make sure that we safe, and we at Olive Garden and me personally, I just want to say thank you for their service," said Chris Wiley with Olive Garden Restaurants.

It's not just Olive Garden, Handgraaf says people in the community often step up to help during their holiday shifts. Businesses bring in food and treats for those sacrificing time to serve the community.

"There are a lot of businesses that give back to the community and want to stay involved with us, and we're very grateful for that," adds Handgraaf.

"Whether it's through bringing baked goods or providing crime tips or just giving us smiles on the street, it really goes a long way," said Lt. Lewek.

Lt. Lewek says criminals may think holidays are the time to strike because they think there may be a shortage in staffing, but Menomonee Falls Police say they’re still fully staffed and ready to respond even on holidays.

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