View of first responders seated for lunch at various tables.

Members of the Corps of Engineers’ staff chatted with First Responders at the recent appreciation luncheon.

It has become a tradition for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to host an appreciation lunch for the area’s First Responders.

“More than 50 First Responders from various agencies around Lake Lanier attended our event this year,” said Tim Baker, treasurer of Friends of Lake Lanier Inc., a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization that supports projects of the Corps. “It is just one way that we’re able to show the people who work tirelessly to keep the lake a fun and safe place to live and to enjoy how much they are appreciated.”

Agencies invited to the luncheon included Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, fire department and 911 operators; Gwinnett City police, fire department and 911 operators; Hall County Sheriff’s Office, fire department and 911 operators; Gainesville City Police Department; Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, fire department and 911 operators; Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, fire department and 911 operators; plus Georgia Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Held at Landshark Landing at Margaritaville, the luncheon was funded by Friends of Lake Lanier and area donors.

“By virtue of our Cooperating Association Agreement, we work closely with the Corps at Lake Lanier to support initiatives that they deem essential in the areas of recreation in the campgrounds and parks, water safety, and natural resources,” Baker said. “Our mission aligns with theirs.”

Friends of Lake Lanier fund several events each year, including the three Water Safety Meetings with area First Responders in advance of major holidays. It also spearheads the annual Life Jacket Donation/Loaner program, collecting new and gently used life jackets that supply the Corp’s 20 Life Jacket Loaner stations located in the parks and campgrounds around the lake.

For more information or to make a donation to Friends of Lake Lanier, visit the group’s Facebook page. They also maintain a website at that includes details about its initiatives and how to volunteer.

Photo: courtesy U.S. Army COE