Swifts give back

Published 7:44 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

John and Cathy Swift prepare a full barbecue meal for the Atmore and Poarch Fire Departments and the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department Tuesday as a thank you.|Photo by LIsa Tindell

Members of three fire departments and a police department feasted on a show of appreciation from the Swift family Tuesday.

Firefighters with Atmore Fire Department, Poarch Fire Department and Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department and officers with the Atmore Police Department were treated to a barbecue meal Tuesday prepared by John and Cathy Swift of the Wild Bunch Butt Burners.

“We just wanted to do this as a way of paying them back the best way we can for putting out the fire at the sawmill,” John said. “They did a heck of a job and we wanted them to know we appreciate it.”

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AFD Chief Gerry McGhee said the Swifts contacted him a week or so following the Jan. 6 fire to set up the luncheon.

“John called me and said they wanted to do something for all the departments that responded to the fire,” McGhee said. “I got with the other departments and we came up with a date for them to come down and do this.”

McGhee said around 50 firefighters, police officers and other officials were expected to enjoy the meal provided by the Swift family.

“We appreciate them doing this for us,” McGhee said. “Things like this sure make everybody feel good about the job we do. We were just doing our job, but it does feel nice to get a special thank you for what we do.”

John said the meal consisted of something he and wife Cathy have become famous for around the area.

“We prepared pulled pork and some of Cathy’s special potato salad,” John said. “We even stirred up some beans to go along with it.”

The fire at Swift Mill broke out in the lumber mill on Swift Mill Road just after 3 p.m. Jan. 6 and caused major damage to the facility. The damage caused the affected portion of the mill to cease operations for a brief time. No injuries were reported at the time of the fire. All operations at the mill have returned to normal.