DANVILLE, Va. – Firefighters are trained to quickly respond to emergencies.
But when Olive Garden employees showed up at the Danville Fire Department's headquarters Monday afternoon with food, the firefighters also quickly responded.
Olive Garden employees brought just about everything a hungry firefighter could want.
"This is an awesome gesture on their part. We really do appreciate it," Danville Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Key said.
Key said this is a reminder of the hard work and dedication of the firefighters.
"Being away from the family and everything, it means a lot to the guys here. Most everybody's out grilling, cooking and having fun with their family (on Labor Day.) This is our extended family and we're here enjoying it," Key said.
Along with the food, Danville Olive Garden manager Tim Robinson presented Key with a pass that gets him and the firefighters free pasta for 90 days.
This is the 17th year Olive Garden restaurants around the country have given back to first responders on Labor Day.
"It's a small thing for us, but we hope that it's something that means something to them because they mean a tremendous amount to us," Robinson said.
The fire department's headquarters was the first of three stops in Danville for the Olive Garden employees.
Robinson said giving back can be emotional.
"It really gets to you sometimes if you think about," Robinson said. "You take yourself out of context of what's going on every day in your restaurant and you're able to come do something like this for these guys who truly put their lives on the line every day, it's a humbling thing for me and my team."
After delivering food to the firefighters, the Olive Garden employees went next door and delivered food to the 911 dispatchers and then to the Danville Life Saving Crew.