ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Denise Temple of the LeRoy Grange and Kim Hughes of the Capron Grange give an envelope full of area gift cards to the Belvidere Fire Dept.

By Anne Eickstadt


Of the seven Granges in Boone County, five of them got together to plan a way to say “Thank you” to first responders – the firefighters and law enforcement officers. They reached out to several local restaurants and purchased gift cards to present to the Belvidere Fire Dept., the ladies in the Dispatch/911 Center, the Boone County Sheriff’s Dept., and the Belvidere Police Dept.

“The firefighters, police, and deputies are out there every day risking themselves to protect the community,” said Denise Temple of the LeRoy Grange. “ And the ladies in Dispatch are always there to send help. We wanted to show our appreciation to them by giving them gift cards they can use when they have the opportunity. It was also a great opportunity to support our local businesses that are suffering from the stay-at-home order Illinois is under.”

Kim Hughes of the Capron Grange joined Denise in distributing the $10 gift cards from at least 12 restaurants in Boone County to the BFD firefighters, the ladies in the Dispatch Center, and the BC Sheriff’s Dept. The Belvidere Police Dept. did not get gift cards the same day the other departments did as more gift cards needed to be collected.

Denise returned to the Public Safety Building a few days later and was able to give the cards to Police Chief Shane Woody and Deputy Chief Pat Gardner.

“Thank you very much,” said DC Gardner. “We are really blessed to have strong partnerships within this community. In fact, this piggybacks something we are already working on. If it is okay with you, these will fit in nicely with a program where we distribute things to our residents to spur the economic stimulus.”

“The gift cards are yours. If you want to pay it forward, go ahead,” said Denise.

The first responders stand guard over the community, especially during this pandemic, and the community takes notice that they are risking themselves even more than usual by going wherever they are needed. The community shows their appreciation in various ways and the first responders have opportunities to do even more for the community and the circle of gratitude keeps going around and around.

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