Arvest Bank and Conway Regional Medical Center joined forces to thank local first responders Wednesday, hosting a cookout on the Faulkner County Courthouse lawn.

"Sometimes we don’t say ‘thank you’ nearly enough to each of these men and women who help ensure safety in our community, and who often put their own lives on the line in order to rescue or protect us in a life-threatening situation," Conway Arvest Market President Skip Colvin said. "We are all one community, serving each other every day, and we appreciate their unwavering commitment and contribution to Faulkner County."

Colvin said the sponsors will host first responder luncheons biannually, in the spring and fall.

Elizabeth Schaffer, a Conway Regional administrator, said Wednesday’s luncheon allowed the community to give back to Faulkner County responders and allot a relaxed atmosphere to those who typically work together in stressful environments.

"We wanted to do a collaboration to give back to the fire departments, police and first responders," she said. "It’s a great opportunity to get these guys together and share a nice meal."

Several emergency responders expressed their gratitude for the gesture as they sat together for lunch Wednesday.

"It’s great that they’re showing appreciation," Theodore Jones, a Faulkner County bailiff, said. "People often don’t [appreciate] us until they need us."

Fire Chief Mike Winter said he was thankful for Arvest and Conway Regional taking the time to provide lunch to local responders.

Winter said that while out in the field "when we have our professional uniform on" it can be hard to take a moment and speak with the ones you work closely with while dealing with the situation at hand.

"This is a much more relaxed environment to meet with other departments and spend time together," he said, sitting at a table with other responders on the courthouse lawn Wednesday.

Representatives from Arvest Bank and Conway Regional along with Renewal Ranch volunteers came together to cook burgers for Faulkner County’s responders.

Chase Moser, a representative with Renewal Ranch, said it was humbling to be able to give back to those who serve the community on a daily basis.

"It was nice to give back to the people in the community," he said.

Moser said Renewal Ranch makes itself available to the sheriff’s office and other responders to lend a helping hand whenever possible and that Wednesday allowed the group to come out and share a meal with these service members.