They often work side–by–side while on duty, but Monday morning Atlantic City firefighters and police officers worked together as volunteers, as they continued to piece together a community park and garden.
"Usually the community sees us in our professional aspect, but to give back to the community and restore something that they enjoyed, it's a good feeling amongst the police and fire," said Paul Barbere, President of PBA Local 24.
"The generosity is unbelievable, when you see everybody helping out, everybody volunteering, not asking questions, just showing up," said Christopher Emmell, President of Fire Union Local 198.
The non–profit organization “A Work In Progress” organized the construction of the community garden and park, next to the Hamilton United Methodist Church on the corner of Connecticut and Arctic Avenues. In addition to flowerbeds under construction plans also call for a playground and educational zone for cooking demonstrations and other events.
"It’s a gathering place for families and that's what were trying to stress, the family unit, healthy eating and coming together and enjoying this beautiful weather out here," said Deputy Chief William Mazur of the Atlantic City Police Department.
Officials say many of the volunteers came in on their days off or before their afternoon and night shifts began, something they see as an example of how much this garden means to everyone in the community.
"With a little bit of effort from each group when we come together, it’s going to come out to be something special," said Bill DiLorenzo, secretary of Fire Union Local 198.
"It’s just going to be a lovely place for the community to come together as families and I think its just going to be well received and utilized to its fullest," said Mazur.
Workers anticipate the park being completed this summer.
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