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Dinner on shift: Anne Arundel councilman buys dinner for first responders

Anne Arundel County Police Lieutenant Harry Peterson, left, gets a dinner from County Councilman Andrew Pruski, right. Anne Arundel County Councilman Andrew Pruski, D-Gambrills, bought dinner from Mamma Roma's for a shift of police at the Western District Station in Odenton.
Anne Arundel County Police Lieutenant Harry Peterson, left, gets a dinner from County Councilman Andrew Pruski, right. Anne Arundel County Councilman Andrew Pruski, D-Gambrills, bought dinner from Mamma Roma's for a shift of police at the Western District Station in Odenton. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

Anne Arundel County Councilman Andrew Pruski wants to send a message to his community after nearly two months of social distancing due to the global coronavirus pandemic: “We are in this together and we are going to get through it.”

On Thursday, he is specifically trying to emphasize the importance of first responders by buying dinner for all the police officers and firefighters on duty in his west county district. Nearly 100 meals from locally-owned restaurants, he said, will hopefully send a message of gratitude and remind his constituents of the ways in which the community is connected.

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Though he has mostly been staying at home in Gambrills with his family in compliance with the “safer-at-home” order, he’ll put on a mask and go out into the community to speak with the officers and firefighters in his district as they are delivered dinner from Mamma Roma’s Italian restaurant and Perry’s Restaurant, both in Odenton.

Pruski said he got the nearly 100 meals — sandwiches, chips, cookies and drinks — for about $10 per meal. It’s less about the dollar amount, he said, and more about trying to show his appreciation. He went first to the Western District police station, and then to the Waugh Chapel fire station to thank the first responders.

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Bruno and Rino Romeo, owners of Mamma Roma, said they are glad to be helping in the donation to first responders and supporting the community. The brothers have been donating to a local food bank weekly during the pandemic, and they also make Youtube videos sharing some of their recipes. Recently, Rino Romeo made a video encouraging his community to stay hopeful amid the pandemic.

Though he has been encouraging his constituents and colleagues to wear masks in public, Pruski said, “As a leader in this area, I need actions to speak louder than words.”

He’s been staying home, and wearing a mask when he goes out in public. Now, he hopes his donation will encourage others to give what they can to those in need.

He thinks it is necessary to put politics aside in order to focus on the recovery of the community. As of Thursday, the virus had sickened at least 3,556, killed at least 154, and left more than 60,000 unemployed.

“It’s a health and safety issue, not a political issue,” Pruski said. “This is about protecting people.”

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