Fire captain on Labor Day celebration: 'It makes us feel appreciated'

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Lasagna, bread sticks and tiramisu were dropped off at the Bakersfield Fire Department as a special "thank you" this Labor Day.

"When our families are at home, celebrating Labor Day and we have to be here at work, it's nice when an organization such as Olive Garden makes that extra effort and provides us with a delicious meal," said Capt. John Rimmer with the Bakersfield Fire Department.

The national holiday celebrates the contribution of workers; a service Rimmer said he and his firefighters know well.

"Putting our time in, trying to make this country a better country, protecting our country. It makes you feel something special, that there are people out there that do appreciate the work that we do," said Rimmer.

William Shepherd has delivered meals from Olive Garden to public service workers for the past 12 years on the holiday. This year he also stopped by the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern Medical Center to honor Kern County's public service workers.

"They all do a very difficult job. They do it for all of us, and they do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And this is our way of saying thank you to them," said Shepherd.

For others, the holiday was celebrated with the day off from work and school.

"We are out here barbecuing hamburgers, ribs. Everything God gave us, we gonna eat it," said Ellis Gupton who spent his Labor Day at a picnic in the park.

Rimmer said he was happy to spend the day with his department over a pasta dinner.

"That's our family time. We enjoy sitting around the table, talking with the other firefighters, finding out how their day is going. What's going on in their life," he said.

The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on September 5th, 1882. In 1894, Congress passed a bill which set the first Monday in September as the legal holiday. Americans have been celebrating Labor Day for 119 years.