GROTON — As a means of saying thanks for their endless efforts, residents of Rivercourt Residences prepared free lunches for dozens of first-responders one day late last week.

The assisted living facility on West Main Street welcomed police, firefighters and other first-responders to its courtyard. Rivercourt staffers provided grilled food and drinks to visiting first-responders from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. while residents  prepared and waved signs thanking officials for their service and bravery.

Officials from Ayer, Boxboro, Littleton, Townsend and Westford were invited to the event.

According to Kristen Cossette, executive director of the facility, this is the first year the facility has offered this event and it hopes to turn it into an annual show of appreciation to first-responders. Cossette added that the idea came about a month ago.

“We thought it was the right thing to do with all of the COVID and having first-responders coming out in the past,” she added. “They’re the ones coming to help us at any given moment if somebody has a fall. If there’s any kind of emergency, they’re here in a second so it’s very important we have a good relationship with them. They’ve also helped us in great detail with all of our personal protective equipment during our COVID times.”

Cossette said Rivercourt has done “very well” in addressing the coronavirus pandemic. She added the facility is currently free of any COVID cases thanks to its efforts to disinfect the facility and keeping others out away from the facility during the height of the pandemic to prevent an outbreak.

“We did have some confirmed cases, but that was back in April,” Cossette said. “We really have done well keeping it out of our community and that’s what’s important.”

First-responders like Pete Kokolski of the Groton Fire Department expressed their own appreciation for residents of Rivercourt and their generosity.

The fire department is one of many organizations who have also recognized the difficulty in addressing the coronavirus pandemic over the last four months.

“Today is a wonderful opportunity to meet the fabulous residents of the town on a non-emergency basis,” Kokolski said. “This has been an interesting and varied experience but we’ve formed a bond with other departments to rally and help the community.”

“We have a great working relationship with Rivercourt Residences,” Groton Fire Chief Steele McCurdy added.

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