Lifestyle

Merrill Gardens hosts 'Guns and Hoses' BBQ June 5

Merrill Gardens food service managers serve burgers to Marysville Fire District Fire Marshal Tom Maloney, Steve Neyens, Marysville Fire District Capt. Jason Schoonover, Jason Tucker and Marysville Fire District Assistant Fire Marshal David VanBeek at the
Merrill Gardens food service managers serve burgers to Marysville Fire District Fire Marshal Tom Maloney, Steve Neyens, Marysville Fire District Capt. Jason Schoonover, Jason Tucker and Marysville Fire District Assistant Fire Marshal David VanBeek at the 'Guns and Hoses' barbecue June 5.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Barbara Brotherton

MARYSVILLE — The staff and residents of Merrill Gardens in Marysville sought to show the city's police officers and firefighters how much their hard work is appreciated, by hosting a "Guns and Hoses" barbecue June 5.

Barbara Brotherton, community relations director for Merrill Gardens in Marysville, welcomed current, past and retired personnel from the Marysville Police Department and Fire District to the facility for the day.

"Many of the Merrill Gardens buildings do this, usually as a yearly thing," said Brotherton, who coordinated the event with Julia Abrahamson, active living director for Merrill Gardens in Marysville. "We wanted to give back to the firefighters and paramedics who are so often in our building. We always try to give them cookies while they're here, but we wanted to do something more."

Brotherton cited the number of "close connections" between Merrill Gardens in Marysville and both police officers and firefighters, including the numbers of retired police officers and firefighters now living at Merrill Gardens, among them retired Everett Police Chief Edward Sylte, as well as the numbers of current police officers and firefighters who have family members living at Merrill Gardens.

Marysville Fire District Commissioner Kay Smith, whom Brotherton thanked for helping coordinate the event on the fire district's end, praised Brotherton in turn for her "absolutely wonderful gesture" on behalf of local police and fire service responders, one which she deemed unique in her 15 years as a fire district commissioner.

"No one in the community has ever done anything like this before," Smith said. "Lots of people have shown their appreciation as individuals, and many organizations have shown their appreciation through donations, but no one has ever offered a complimentary lunch to all the city's current and retired police and fire personnel."

This open invite wound up being restricted somewhat on the fire district's end, since on-shift crews couldn't attend if they were on calls, or if their stations were too far away from Merrill Gardens in Marysville. As such, Smith estimated that 24 current fire employees, from Stations 61 and 62, joined three retirees at the barbecue.

"It was such a pleasant experience," Smith said. "Everyone I talked to was enjoying themselves, and I loved seeing the interactions between the current and retired firefighters, as well as the Merrill Gardens residents."

"The firefighters who come here are always gracious and professional in their responses, in ways that go above and beyond just their jobs," Brotherton said. "A small town is a great thing."

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