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Dinner held for Gilchrist First Responders

First Responders throughout Gilchrist County were treated to an enjoyable evening out on Saturday, April 17th. This event, the Gilchrist First Responders Day dinner, was planned months ago and rescheduled several times due to COVID.
Mark and Kim Kenney of Bell were inspired to host the dinner for First Responders. Mark Kenney said, that when his mother, Jane Rushford-Kenney passed away at age 97 in 2019, she requested he use the money she was leaving him to pay it forward and spend it wisely. After much thought, Kenney said, he could not think of a more worthwhile thing to do with the money his mother left him than to host a nice dinner for First Responders. Kenney said, “This dinner, I feel, satisfied her request fully.”
Mark and Kim Kenney moved here six years ago, after he spent a 31 year career in education in the Tampa area.
Mark Kenney said, “With all the negativity in the national media we wanted our local First Responders to know that they were still appreciated and that we respect law enforcement.” Kenney went on to say, they have family members who serve as First Responders and they understand the sacrifices they make to keep us all safe. “By the grace of God we are in a position that we can help out by honoring our First Responders”, Kenney said.
The guest speakers for the evening were State Representative Chuck Clemons, and Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz.
Over 100 local First Responders including members of the Gilchrist County Sheriff Office, Gilchrist County Fire Rescue, Trenton Public Safety, FHP, FWC, Florida Department of Corrections, Florida Department Ag, Ayers Health and Rehab, Tri-County Nursing Home and Palms Medical Group attended the dinner.
Kenney said, the weather was bad all day, but thankfully the rain held off until the event ended.
The dinner was held at Vinyard North and catered by Bell’s Catering. Krystal Holley and Marty Langford of Marty’s Designs work tirelessly to make the event a very special gathering of First Responders and their guests. Katie Lovett took photos of the couples and throughout the event, for those who attended.
The Bell High School Health Academy and Criminal Justice students were the host and hostesses for the evening, serving the local First Responders throughout the evening. Bell JROTC students served as the Color Guard for the program.
Gilchrist Sheriff Bobby Schultz said, “In Gilchrist County, we are blessed to feel the support and appreciation everyday of the vast majority of our citizens. We sincerely appreciate those who put this dinner together and took the time to give our First Responders a perfect evening of fellowship.”
Kenney said, he hopes that this dinner will become a annual event to honor the local and maybe even Tri-County First Responders.