Lee County, SC (WLTX) - Community members in Lee County showed their appreciation to emergency and utility crews for all their work during and after Hurricane Matthew by serving them a free meal.

“It’s something to bring the community together in a positive way opposed to always being negative about you know the power’s out, the roads are closed and our community,” Ann Marie Estes said. “Our EMTs, our firefighters or any of our emergency response, the linemen, every single call that they get especially during a storm, they’re putting their lives on the line for residents.”

Estes lost power for days but despite the inconvenience still wanted to do something for the workers who are trying to get the county back to normal.

Estes organized a free lunch for all of the workers.

“Everybody deserves and looks and appreciates a pat on the back of the acknowledgement of a job well done,” Estes said.

Community members served and even brought food out to linemen still working on repairs.

“It was really payback time because the various agencies law enforcement, the powerline people, the people that were doing public works, clearing the roads, blocking the roads off, keeping us all safe,” George Roberts said.

“These people work so hard all year long and then you know you throw a hurricane at them and they're still going and while we're sitting in the comfort of our own home,” Deanna Rollins said.

The workers say they're thankful for the recognition.

“Proud to be around Lee County works real good together in the time of a crisis,” Lee County Fire Department Chief and Lee County Emergency Management Director Mike Bedenbaugh said.

“It's just good to know that people care,” Duke Energy’s Justin Driggers said.

Businesses, churches, residents and community groups donated the food and cooked. About 150 emergency officials and linemen were served.