By Shereen Siewert

Marathon County firefighters and police were recognized Friday for their daily service and sacrifice in a unique way, linking the history of serving donuts to soldiers on the front lines during World War I.

National Donut Day is on the first Friday of June of each year and was created by The Salvation Army in Chicago in 1938 to honor their members who served donuts to soldiers during World War I.

Serving donuts to soldiers began through necessity. Women of The Salvation Army were dispatched to the war front in World War I. Dwindling food supplies spurred the ingenuity to fashion what we now know as the donut to fry in an overturned soldier’s helmet.

Women preparing doughnuts kept silent, fearful of giving away their location to the enemy. They served donuts and coffee to soldiers in the trenches to give them a touch of home cooking and boost soldiers’ morale.

Salvation Army officials say the symbolic gesture to serve local emergency services personnel with donuts may be more relevant now than in recent years, offering reassurance during the added stressors resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.