St. Clairsville’s first responders were on a special call this Thanksgiving.

But not with crimes or fires.

They were delivering Thanksgiving dinners.

“Mr. Slavik who sits on the Cumberland Trail Fire Board came up with the idea, and the fire department reached out to the police department, asked us if we’d be interested in helping and obviously we were,” said Police Chief Matt Arbenz. “And a few days later, Whiteside’s let us know that they wanted to finance the entire project.”

“Car dealers have been supporting communities for years and years and we do it all over the country,” said Ted Showalter, owner of Whiteside’s. “But we do it right here locally and I think it’s time for all of us to step up and help those in need and we just want to do it.”

Riesbeck’s did the cooking, making 60 complete Thanksgiving dinners, in the midst of their busy season.

“It’s a lot of work but we enjoyed doing it,” said Dennis Kasprowski, operator of the St. Clairsville Riesbeck’s store. “It’s for a great cause. So it was work, but it was done with pleasure.”

Police officers and firefighters picked up the meals, loaded them in their vehicles and delivered them to homes, help centers and  facilities.

“They are making such a nice day and a big difference in people’s lives,” said Mayor Kathryn Thalman of St. Clairsville. “But that’s so typical of our town. We’ve got a lot of people with heart. This is like ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ “

“It makes me feel great,” said officer Greg Clark. “It’s another part of being a police officer, helping the community. In a good way.”

And it’s a welcome departure for the officers.

“Usually we’re not in a position where people are feeling good when we arrive,” said Chief Arbenz. “So this makes a big difference for us.”