Meal Train

Gunselman’s Tavern in Fairview Park provided meals for the Fairview police, fire and service departments on New Year’s Eve. Above, Fairview Police Chief Erich Upperman, left, Gunselman’s’ Joseph McDonough, David Grace and Nick Pejeau and Fairview Police Lieutenant Paul Shepard stand behind the pork dinner the tavern brought.

Residents of Fairview Park and Rocky River turned the tables on city workers over the holidays. They took part in Meal Trains that fed members of their police, fire and service departments.

After garnering much attention and interaction on the community Facebook pages, Fairview Park’s Meal Train accumulated 37 meals (16 for the fire department, 14 for the police department and seven for the service department). Rocky River’s accumulated 23 meals, with nine for the fire department, 11 for the police department and three for the service department.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Rocky River resident Michelle Pellman Crowe, a former Fairview Park resident and founder of both Facebook pages, has organized the Meal Trains.

“The people that are protecting us on a daily basis and are the core members of the city deserve to be treated (to) something special during the holidays,” Pellman Crowe said. “They have to be at work while the rest of us get to be with family for the most part. I just thought, what a nice idea to be able to give back.”

The Meal Train website allowed people to sign up to deliver meals or snacks to individuals or groups on Thanksgiving and between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1.

Rocky River resident Summer Ibrahim volunteered for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, something she has done every year since the program started.

“If I can give back, I will,” Ibrahim said. “I figured, they’re taking time (away from) their families to protect us. I want (my kids) to watch me, so in the future when they grow up (they say), ‘Mom did this, so why can’t I do this?’”

Fairview’s Meal Train also received support from local business Gunselman’s Tavern.

“We’re in the hospitality industry, so we’re open all the time. We work every holiday,” Gunselman’s David Grace said. “So we know what it’s like to have to work while everyone else is having fun. Pork is good luck on New Year’s Eve … so we want to be sure to pass that good luck on.”

Lt. Paul Shepard of the Fairview Park Police Department expressed his gratitude for Gunselman’s and the community members who contributed to the Meal Trains.

“It’s a privilege to work for a city like Fairview Park … that appreciates the sacrifices that the men and women of this department (make),” Shepard said. “The fact that somebody took the time out of their day to make us some food (or) bring Christmas cards to us just to say thank you, means a lot.”

Rocky River Fire Chief Aaron Lenart thanked his community as well. “It is very special for our personnel to be remembered by the community during the holiday season,” he wrote in an email. “Although not all of our firefighters can be home during the holidays, they take comfort in knowing that our community has them in their thoughts.”

Pellman Crowe hopes the Meal Trains will encourage residents to continue their generosity throughout the year.

“There doesn’t need to be a Meal Train to drop off cookies or just to think of them and say thank you,” Pellman Crowe said. “It’s just about giving back to the community and helping people that help us.”

Contact this reporter at jkopanski@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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