- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2003

Instead of spending Thanksgiving Day with his family, Wasster Craig spent yesterday making sure other families could enjoy their holiday in peace.

As an officer for the Federal Protective Service, one of his duties is to protect Americans from terrorist threats and attacks.

Officer Craig wasn’t sure if and when he would be able to go home yesterday.

“It depends on what happens,” Officer Craig said. “I come to work every day hoping it’s going to be nice, and then something crazy happens.”

Officer Craig was among about 150 law enforcement officials who took a brief break in front of the Four Seasons Hotel in Northwest, where they were treated to a traditional Thanksgiving meal aboard a Mayflower van.

“We thought since we have so many public servants that help out here, this is the perfect opportunity to reach out to them and say thanks for all you do for us,” said Christopher Hunsberger, general manager and regional vice president of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

The officers had plates piled high with slices of ham and turkey, stuffing, cranberries, yams, mashed potatoes with gravy and mixed vegetables. Pumpkin and pecan pies were served for dessert. The meals were eaten by candlelight on the hotel’s fine china.

Mr. Hunsberger said it was the Four Seasons’ fourth annual Thanksgiving Day luncheon to honor firefighters, police officers and members of the National Guard who had no choice but to work on a holiday traditionally spent with family.

Officer Darius Sultan, who works with the Federal Protective Service, said he was grateful to have a place to go and see some friendly faces, even if it was for only a couple of minutes.

“This is my only Thanksgiving tonight,” said Officer Sultan, whose family was spending the holiday in Philadelphia. “It is a good thing because a lot of times when you are working on the holidays there is nowhere to eat lunch.”

Sgt. Louis Torche, a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Park Police, also said it would be his only Thanksgiving meal. His children are in California.

“The rest of my squad kept saying [they] are going [to the Four Seasons], so I decided to come,” Sgt. Torche said. “I’m glad I did.”

Metropolitan Police Officer Vincent Wright agreed. “I came here last year, and it was excellent,” said the nine-year veteran, who planned to dine later with family. “I have to because they are going to say, ‘What did you eat?’” he said.

U.S. Park Police Officer Cynthia Sirk said she planned to eat with her children after she got off duty but that she enjoyed the company as well as the food at the Four Seasons.

“This is the first time I ever liked [yams],” the five-year veteran said.

Bill Eberlin, a supervisor for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, stopped by to take a break from the chilly weather. “I’m just having coffee,” the 28-year veteran said. “I am going to go home and have dinner with my family.”

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