Olive Garden provides Labor Day dinner to Kissimmee police

By Stephanie Bechara, Osceola County Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 6:06 PM EDT

Labor Day honors working people, but even on this holiday police, fire and EMS don't get a break.

  • Olive Garden provides Labor Day dinner to first responders
  • 16th year Olive Garden has done this
  • Kissimmee police got food from restaurant at The Loop

That is why Olive Gardens all across the nation deliver meals to first responders on duty.

"To thank them for their service and what they do to protect us and keep us safe out there," said Sashi Santeliz, the service manager at the Olive Garden at The Loop.

The Olive Garden in Kissimmee prepared food, packed it up, wrote inspiring messages for these service men & women. And loaded it all up to head to the Kissimmee Police Department.

"Its great to see everybody coming together trying to get them in good spirits. I know it's been a little difficult, but we're here to support them and thank them for everything they've done,” Santeliz said. “Really know that we're here for them when they need us the most."

It hasn't been a particular easy time for the agency. A little over two weeks ago, KPD lost two brothers: Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard.

Cpl. Shannon Dore says the atmosphere within the department has changed but for the better.

“What's changed is our positivity going into calls and going into work, and going 10-8 and knowing that your partners will be there for you," Dore said.

Flowers, posters and other keepsakes are inside of the department to honor these fallen officers.

"Thank you for everything you do keeping us protected, nice and safe," Santeliz said to the officers before they served themselves.

Dore said it's this type of community support that will help them heal during the long journey ahead.

"It is tough, but family sticks together, and we're going to get through it like Chief O'Dell said. And we’re going to have a bumpy road but we're OK, because at the end of the day we have each other,” Dore said. “And we're going to move forward and always keep them in our hearts, and now we have guardian angels to watch over us."

More than 800 restaurants are participating on the national effort. This is the 16th year that Olive Garden put together this corporate give-back.