Randy Robbins

Calvary Chapel in Gold Beach treated Curry County first responders to a dinner to say “Thanks” for their service to the community.

Serving those who serve — police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, anyone who puts themselves on the line daily for those who need help — began when Calvary Chapel of Gold Beach Pastor Mike Quesada was named Curry Southern Oregon chaplain to first responders

As a result of his assignment, he was given the chance to see first hand the heroism on display and came away impressed.

Quesada gets called on when a need presents itself for spiritual comfort and stability common to stressful situations. Suicide attempts, domestic violence and death notifications head his list along with helping responders to “decompress” after staring down stark realities that can leave a psychological mark on even the most seasoned veteran.

And Quesada wanted to do something in return.

“These guys and gals put it all out there and nobody really thanks them,” Quesada said. “I saw all the signs saying ‘Thank You Fire fighters’ for the guys from around the state and across the country and that is good ... but nothing for our guys and it bugged me.”

So last year Quesada’s church hosted a free barbecue steak and chicken dinner with all the fixings in the groups honor inviting first responders in the Gold Beach area.

The event was such a success that last week he invited the entire county and other churches joined in to serve. First Baptist provided additional tables and Foursquare Church brought volunteers to serve food.

“We aren’t preaching at them, the dinner is our thank you pure and simple ... no strings attached. If they need a church I can put them in touch with us or another Bible believing church but that isn’t the focus of the event.”

Curry County Commissioner Court Boice said, “I think this is great. For far too long law enforcement has been portrayed as bad guys in the media. This is important to teach our kids honor and respect for all these men and women do.”

Gold Beach Mayor Karl Popoff echoed Boice’s remarks.

“I’ve got to really hand it to Calvary Chapel for coming up with the idea and putting it together.”

Looking around as Curry County sheriff’s deputies slapped backs and traded laughs with Gold Beach police officers and their families made Popoff smile.

“How can you beat this? These guys never really get to all sit down together in one spot,” Popoff said.

After Quesada opened the meal with a blessing Curry County Sheriff, John Ward, and Gold Beach Chief Tracy Woods addressed the audience that numbered around 75.

Ward expressed his gratitude for his men and women in his department.

“Thank you for inviting us to be here,” Ward said. “In other parts of the country, law enforcement doesn’t enjoy the support that we do from this community. I want to also thank our wives and families.”

Woods opined, “I’m not a good public speaker and you might be expecting me to deliver a sermon from up here at this pulpit so I’ll make it brief. Thank you for your support!”

Dale Hodges a volunteer from Cedar Valley Fire Department that was first on the scene at the Lobster Creek fire a few months ago smiled as he surveyed a plate full of saucy ribs.

“This is really great man!”