VERSAILLES, Ky. (LEX 18) — Today, Woodford County Schools offered free lunch to first responders. Versailles officer Derek McKibben came out to lunch at Simmons Elementary. He remembers his favorite school meals, "Spaghetti...I like sloppy joes. Sloppy joes, are pretty good."
This is the first time that the school district has offered a program like this one — where first responders can come into the school and have lunch with students.
Woodford County Schools Superintendent Danny Adkins says, "I think it was Mr. Rogers that talked about 'look for the helpers.' And these folks, our first responders, are always gonna be the helpers. So, we want our students to be comfortable with that. We want our students to know who they are."
Adkins says when a principal came to the district with this idea, they immediately knew this was something they wanted to take on. Officer McKibben says they were excited to hear about this new program and he shared that it's an opportunity to connect with students, get them comfortable with first responders, and answer questions.
"I want them to be able to come to us if they need something or they just need to talk about anything going on in their life — personal life, with their friends, family, or even at school,” says Officer McKibben.
Superintendent Adkins tells me that the free lunches are being paid for through the district's general fund. He shares that another benefit of having more first responders on campuses is increased safety. The goal of this program is not just to thank first responders for all that they do, but to bring the community closer together.
"To be able to have everybody come together and have lunch and just say 'hey' in the hallway and that kind of thing, it's just, it's a great opportunity for us,” says Adkins.
First responders were excited to get out and spend that time with students who had a lot of questions and interest in what those officers do.