These business owners held a lunch to thank police, first responders: 'We can't turn our backs on them'

Posted at 11:50 AM, Sep 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-06 11:50:04-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A small business in Highland Springs hosted a police appreciation lunch Saturday afternoon to thank area first responders and bring together the community.

Ashton and Natasha Robertson, who own Transcend Auto on Nine Mile Road, emphasized the need for connection and mutual appreciation to overcome barriers and division between police and the community.

While Ashton Robertson said he has been racially profiled and harassed by police in the past, he believes it is important not to make sweeping generalizations and to appreciate people working to protect the community.

“We need them and we can’t just turn our backs on them,” Ashton Robertson said. “Because when they do put on that uniform, they do put their life on the line. They don’t know if they’re going to go home based on that phone call they get. They don’t know if they’re going to be injured. But they put it on and they step out full force. And that part of it, we don’t necessarily get to see.”

That message was shared by singer Shayy Winn. The Thomas Dale graduate and former American Idol contestant performed at the lunch.

“Now is there some things that we need to fix in society nowadays, and the way situations are handled, of course,” Winn said. “But how do you plan to get them fixed if we're all divided? If we're choosing violence versus choosing peace?”

The Robertsons said they hope to make the free lunch an annual event.

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