MORGANTOWN — More than 400 coffee mugs — each with a smiley face on the side — helped area first responders feel appreciated Tuesday.
This week marks Teleflora’s Make Someone Smile Week and Jimmy Coombs, of Coombs Flowers, handed out these mugs filled with green plants to a variety of police officers, firefighters and paramedics gathered at the Northside Fire Station.
Coombs Flowers has participated in the program for 12 years, but Make Someone Smile Week has been around for 18. Coombs has been on the board of directors for the West Virginia unit for several years.
“They just kind of do it to promote goodwill,” Coombs said.
Each year Coombs selects a group to honor.
This year, some mugs were filled with dog biscuits for the K-9 officers.
“We’ve done, some years it’s been like 150, we’ve done up to 300 and some. I think this is actually the largest group that we have had,” Coombs said.
His favorite part of the day is seeing people’s reactions.
Coombs said they often take flowers to hospitals and nursing homes, but recalled giving arrangements to Morgantown City Police three years ago. He said they were thrilled with the gesture.
“I think that we forget about a lot of the first responders, and how much they give out,” he said. “The long hours that they spend and the holidays they miss with families cause they’re serving all of us.”
Dylan Oliveto, from Health Team Critical Care Transport, said there are times when running with an emergency services organization is a thankless job and for somebody to recognize the sacrifices their employees make means a lot.
“I think that on those hard days, somebody is going to take this and really get a little piece of satisfaction out of what they’re doing day in and day out that they may not get otherwise,” he said.
“We see people at their worst, so we don’t get smiles very often, so you get a mug with a smile on it and it means something, it really does,” he said.