LA PLATA, Md. — The Charles County Chamber of Commerce recently announced a county-wide First Responders Appreciation Dinner, set to take place on November 10.

Bonnie Grady, Charles County Chamber of Commerce CEO said she’s heard there used to be events similar but it is unclear whether it included first responders from all communities, paid and volunteer, public and private.

Many local fire companies, EMS units, local towns, and other organizations currently come together to honor their own. This larger-scale event will be a chance for the entire Charles County business community to recognize and express appreciation to public and private firefighters and EMTs, fire company support volunteers, state and local law enforcement, and corporate emergency personnel.

The community will gather at the Charles County Fairgrounds to say “thank you” for everything these brave and selfless people do for the community every day. The Chamber would like to invite everyone to join in recognizing these local heroes.

Part of the funds raised will go to hosting firefighters, EMTs, law enforcement officers, corporate emergency employees, fire company support volunteers – and their escorts – to a nice meal and a public evening of gratitude. See ticket details at

Volunteers are also needed to help with this event. The Chamber is looking for help to set up and take down tables and chairs, dress the tables, decorate the room, serve the food, and coordinate the activities of the evening. To sign up, please contact her by email at

If you represent a local business and are looking for other ways to show appreciation to our first responders, here are a few suggestions from the Charles County Chamber of Commerce:

  • “Consider creating a sign to hang outside your business. Incorporate your logo and a simple message such as “Thank you, First Responders.” Easy, expensive, big impact.
  • If your business is food-related, offer to bring by a tray or a box of goodies once in a while. Pizza, cookies or other treats, or even a full meal are always welcome and very much appreciated.
  • Does your business offer a service, such as IT consulting, personal care, or housecleaning? Think about donating a gift certificate to a first responder organization or to an individual who deserves recognition. Work with the management team to see how they could make use of a donation like this.
  • Many local businesses already offer discounts for first responders. If yours doesn’t, this could be another gesture of support. It doesn’t have to be a big discount to let them know you care. It’s also a great way to introduce your business to first responders.
  • How about hosting an event, such as a friendly softball game between police and firefighters? Your employees could sell concessions with proceeds going to the organizations or to charities they support.
  • Most first responder organizations host or support community programs like “Shop With a Cop” or “Toys for Tots”. Speak with them about ways your business can help. It could be a small gesture like putting a collection box near your entrance or something bigger like allowing your employees to volunteer at an event during work hours.
  • First responders support our community all day, every day. Your business can show community support by reaching out to our first responders. Strong businesses make strong communities!”

The First Responders Appreciation Dinner will take place on Wednesday, October 10, from 6:00-8:30 PM, at the Charles County Fairgrounds. Go to to register or to sign up as a sponsor. In addition to purchasing a ticket, please consider hosting at least one first responder or one escort.

Want to learn more about all the Chamber has to offer to our members and our community? Visit or email us at

Keep up with what’s happening in the Charles County business community. Send an email to and put “Chamber Eblasts” in the subject line. This column appears twice monthly, on Fridays. Bonnie Grady, IOM, is the President & CEO of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at