For officers from the 18th Police District in West Philadelphia, their motto was temporarily revised from honor, integrity and service to coffee, eggs and eat up as they received a healthy heaping of thanks during the Phillies Finest breakfast on Saturday.
The event was held at Renaissance Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center and provided the officers with a hot meal of eggs, cheese grits, potatoes, sausage, bacon, French toast and other edibles. The officers patrol the community from their station at 5510 Pine St.
“We’re having our second annual breakfast for all of the officers of the 18th District and what we do is invite them to have breakfast to thank them for their service to our community and our 123 residents here,” said Carmella Cane, an administrator at the center, 4712 Chester Ave.
“This is our residents’ home and so they are members of this community and so they are very, very thankful to the police and they wanted to give their thanks,” she added.
Timothy McCracken, director of recreational services at Renaissance, said residents were very enthused about the opportunity to express their gratitude to the officers as well as continue being active members of the community.
“We opened our doors to the police officers of the 18th District just to thank them for all of the hard work that they do for our community which often goes unappreciated,” he said.
McCracken said that preparing for the annual breakfast was a team effort that included participating residents, culinary staff and other employees from the center as well as the officers of the 18th precinct.
The work paid off as officers began pouring into the dining area that was decorated in their honor. It also served another purpose.
“As the officers finished eating, the residents came in to meet with the officers to personally express their gratitude and interact with them on a one-on-one basis,” McCracken said.
Two of those residents were Dorothy Artis and Triphena Stevenson.
“I feel wonderful about this because oftentimes you see the officers do things and you would like to walk up to them and say ‘Thank you” but it’s just not possible to do that, so being here this morning is just marvelous,” said Artis.
“They work hard all year trying to protect us and we should give them thanks and do something for them so this is one of the things we are doing now,” said Stevenson, who prides herself on having been the first African-American EKG Technician at Graduate Hospital.
This was the second year that Inspector Verdall Johnson attended the annual breakfast.
“I love it, we get to meet the residents, the food is good, we get to experience comradery between the officers and the community so I think it’s an outstanding event,” he said.
“It makes us feel good. A lot of times when officers get called it’s during bad times but to get to interact and there’s nothing wrong and it’s a good time, it makes us feel good,” Johnson added.
Capt. Robin Wimberly described the event as wonderful and said the food as awesome.
“It’s nice to meet some of the residents and they are so colorful,” said Wimberly with a laugh. “I think this is wonderful. We are here to service the community, sometimes people in our field forget what we are here to do, touch people lives and people will always remember how you made them feel.”
“This is people loving on each other, this is really cool,” she said.