By Donna Hill
For the Fort Bend Star
Si Mendoza honors those who serve, respond, and protect.
Every year on Sept. 11, Mendoza finds a way to give back.
Over the past six years, Mendoza and the staff of his restaurant, IL Primo Pizza & Wings, hosted a meal for first responders and their families. The Richmond Fire Department, Pecan Grove Fire Department, LifeFlight, Fort Bend County Sherrif’s Office, and the constable offices of Precinct 3 and Precinct 4 were at the event this year.
Learning all about safety awareness, children met many of the first responders, who helped them climb into a fire truck, answer questions about safety, or find out how LifeFlight helicopter crews save lives.
“It was just an idea, to somehow give back to them, the first responders, the volunteers, the police officers,” said Mendoza. “I am pretty blessed with my business, and with the anniversary of 9/11 and then the recent floods here in our area, we are all thankful to those who serve. So this event today felt especially appropriate.”
Mendoza’s restaurant helped feed responders during the floods as well.
“Many of these first responders worked 14 days straight. I wanted to give back to those who looked out for us. So a few of us got here Sunday morning at the restaurant, right after the floods started. I contacted the Richmond Fire Department and said if you guys need food, let me know,” Mendoza said. “I knew the first responders would be working long shifts, and we knew they would need to eat.”
At his restaurant, Mendoza felt the best thing he could do was to offer responders not only a place to eat, but to sit down, maybe see people they know, and perhaps find a bit of normalcy, if only for a short time.
“It’s one less worry for them, and that’s why we’re here,” he said.
Chaplain Tim Homa from the Fort Bend County Sherrif’s Office said a prayer before the meal, along with a moment of silence for the heroes and first responders of 9/11, and local heroes and first responders in Fort Bend County.
“If we maintain a day of remembrance, these children will also remember this day as well. It’s the respect and the honor of what we are supposed to do,” Mendoza said.