Members of Pine Bluff’s First Assembly of God Church lined a hallway and waved American Flags Monday as they welcomed area first responders to a free lunch as a way of thanking them for their service.

The Rev. Gary Bell, lead pastor at First Assembly, said the event was the fourth annual “Highest Call Heroes” luncheon.

“It’s our way of honoring our local heroes who wake up every day willing to answer the highest call and lay their lives on the line for the security and well-being of every citizen,” Bell said.

Law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency ambulance personnel were greeted with “thanks for your service” from church members as they walked in the church and down a winding hallway to the dining room, where a barbecue dinner with all the trimmings awaited them.

“Oscar Bullard, one of our church members and an Arkansas State Trooper himself, caters the meal, and we feel it adds significance to our celebrations,” Bell said.

“It just seems appropriate to honor public servants during this time of year when our nation is celebrating its freedom. We like to couple our Freedom Fest fireworks and fun with this gesture of support for our local public servants.”

This year, 110 public servants were fed, Bell said.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to these men and women,” he said.