Holiday passes quietly

By Greg Gelpi

Emergency workers gave thanks for a quiet holiday Thursday.

No major activity was reported by the Henry County Bureau Police Services, calling the Thanksgiving activity "fairly quiet."

Most of the holiday action involved a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.

An official said rainy weather kept many county residents inside and off the streets.

Law enforcement from two cities and a fire engine swarmed a house in Morrow on Thanksgiving.

There was no emergency at the location, but rather a hot holiday meal awaited the Morrow and Lake City police departments and Morrow Fire Department.

While many spent the holiday at home with family eating a traditional Thanksgiving meal, Dorothy Brandon, a Morrow resident, has established her own tradition of feeding emergency workers who are on duty and unable to be at home for Thanksgiving.

"I just love the police department here. They are like my family" Brandon said. "I think the Morrow police guys are the best."

Rushing to the door and greeting everyone who came, Brandon hugged all of her guests and welcomed them into her family, and the family meal sounded like many families' meals. Brandon and her guests swapped family stories and traded jovial verbal jabs.

She began feeding the emergency workers four years ago, and Morrow police honored her as the Law Enforcement Citizen of the Year in 2001.

Packing them into her house, she fed all three shifts of the two police departments and the entire 24-hour shift at the fire department. She even sent plate lunches to those who couldn't leave the office, such as dispatchers.

Her intentions are "pure," Sgt. Jeff Yancey of the Morrow police, said.

"When you choose this profession, you're going to work holidays," Yancey said, but Brandon helps get him through the holiday. "She does it every chance she gets. With her personality, what you see is what you get."

Although Morrow firefighters had to grab their food and run, they took time to thank Brandon for her dedication and support.

"She is just such a good neighbor to the city that we have to make a point to stop by," firefighter Dave Gray said.

He added that although he has to work he is thankful for having a home-cooked meal.

Morrow Police Officer Vargus Owens said the meal provides relief to his schedule.

"We look forward to this every year, and it's not just for the food," he said.

Brandon also cooks meals for Christmas, New Year's and July 4.

The Lake Spivey Rotary Club and the Clayton County Aging Program also took the opportunity to give thanks by giving back.

The Rotary Club visited the children at Rainbow House, preparing a Thanksgiving feast for them while playing games and making holiday arts and crafts.

Rainbow House is a facility for abused and neglected children.

Preparing the meal lifted the spirits of some of the children, while providing a respite for the Rainbow House employees.

"I just want to do something special, and it gives me a warm fuzzy," Joe Thor, one of the Rotarians, said.

After bringing cheer to the residents of Rainbow House, Thor said he would be going directly home to feed more than 25 of his own family members.

The efforts of the Rotarians have grown since the group first began volunteering at the Rainbow House, Michael Edmondson said.

"This is the first year we couldn't fit everyone in the kitchen," he said.

The overflow helped children make Thanksgiving baskets and played games with them.

The Aging Program delivered special holiday meals to elderly residents of Clayton County.

Brenda Adams was asked to volunteer with Meals on Wheels for one year. That was 21 years ago, and she is still volunteering. She helped deliver meals to 14 elderly residents in North Clayton County. Other volunteers covered the southern portions of the county.

"I seem to have an affinity for the elderly," Adams said. "I think of them as family."

The food was donated by St. Augustine Episcopal Church.